Long-time famed sportscaster Bob Costas on Sunday decried the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) efforts to appease China as the country begins to launch its 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. He also suggested that network news coverage of the event would be “quasi-journalistic at best.”
“We should preface this, by saying that no one could have anticipated COVID, no matter what the venue is,” Costas said during an appearance on CNN.
“But the IOC deserves all of the disdain and disgust that comes their way for going back to China yet again. They were in Beijing in 2008. They go to Sochi in 2014. They’re shameless about this stuff. And so, this takes place not only amid Covid, as did the Tokyo Games of a year ago. But as you mention, the restrictions on press freedom and the sense that everyone there is being monitored in some way…It isn’t just NBC.
“Any network that broadcasts big sports events is simultaneously in a position, it’s quasi-journalistic at best,” he added.
“You’re reporting a news event and what surrounds it in the case of the Olympics isn’t just what’s confined to one game in a stadium, you’re reporting an event, but you’re also promoting the event.”
When asked by CNN’s Brian Stelter what the networks could do to address human rights abuses, Costas predicted that reporters would address such concerns early in the games, but after that, “only if something specific that cannot be ignored happens during the course of the games, which very well could happen.”
“The IOC makes it a policy that they don’t approve of political statements during an Olympics,” Costas stated. “That genie is going to be out of the bottle to a certain extent. Has to be.”
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