(TibetanReview.net, Jan24’22) – “The IOC (International Olympic Committee) deserves all of the disdain and disgust that comes their way for going back to China yet again,” edition.cnn.com Jan 23 quoted veteran Olympics sportscaster Bob Costas as saying on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Jan 23.
Former NBC sportscaster Costas, who has covered 12 Olympic Games as a host and commentator, was talking about the challenges journalists will face during the Beijing Winter Olympics next month.
He has called the IOC shameless, referring to its apparent disregard for the prevalence of human rights abuses when selecting host nations, after it earlier awarded the 2008 Summer Olympics to Beijing and the 2015 Winter Games to Sochi, Russia.
“They’re shameless about this stuff,” he was quoted as saying.
CNN’s chief media correspondent Brian Stelter has said journalists will face a unique challenge during the Beijing games — balancing politics and sports. There are many unknowns in terms of censorship and how free international journalists will be when it comes to reporting on events in and around the games.
Both NBC and ESPN have announced this week they will not be sending their usual contingent of reporters and producers to the Games, citing Covid concerns.
NBC had previously announced that while its focus will be on the athletes, it would include geopolitical context during its Beijing coverage.
“The world, as we all know, is a really complicated place right now. And we understand that there’s some difficult issues regarding the host nation,” Molly Solomon, executive producer and president of NBC Olympics Production, was quoted as saying during a presentation to reporters Jan 20.
Costas has described Olympics reporting as a sort of “quasi journalism.” That’s because NBC pays a massive rights fee along with the production costs, putting the network in a somewhat promotional position for the Games. He has added that covering the Olympics isn’t simply a news event, but also an important “cultural panorama” and “travel log” of the host nation, aspects that could be greatly reduced because of Covid and the potential for constant monitoring by Chinese authorities.