Four years ago, NBC’s chief anchor, Lester Holt stood at the bottom of a ski slope in North Korea. South Korea was about to host the Winter Olympics, and Communist North Korea asked NBC to visit. Dutifully Holt and NBC showed up and filmed scenes of “happy” North Koreans frolicking in the winter wonderland.
As Holt spoke, the background was filled with North Koreans dressed in colorful ski outfits. Each of the jackets and ski equipment looked new – because all of it was new, right out–of–the–box. Skiers were dressed in identical jackets and identical ski equipment. No one was actually “skiing.” It was a film set. A façade. Although there was a proposal for North Korea to co-host some events, it was never going to happen. Welcome to Potemkin village, North Korea.
An @NBCNews exclusive: “We have been treated with respect here.” @lesterholtnbc is just a few hours outside the capital of Pyongyang with a rare look inside North Korea pic.twitter.com/xTZM6QcLEy
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 22, 2018
When Hitler put on his Nazi Games in 1936, it was to propagandize and highlight his vision of Aryan racial superiority. The scenes and venues were carefully orchestrated for world consumption. But Jesse Owens showed up in Berlin and stomped on Hitler’s centerpiece.
Friday is the opening ceremony for this year’s iteration of the Winter Olympics. This time, it’s in Beijing, China. The last time China hosted an Olympic Games, it was the summer of 2008. Beijing’s air quality was so poor, the ChiComs shut down industries to make it look like the air quality wasn’t god-awful. It still was. A giant, smoggy film set. Once guests and Olympians left, the really terrible air came back to choke China’s capital.
In the last few years, the world has witnessed what China really is — an oppressive authoritarian communist state that has brutalized, spied on, murdered, and enslaved segments of its people. It overran Hong Kong, and what was once a vibrant free city is now a vassal of the CCP.
Yet, the Olympics will go forward Thursday with a spectacular display of dancers, fireworks, and cheerleaders. Xi will be there, applauding behind his literal and figurative mask, and it will all be televised to the world. A neat package of propaganda for the world to consume via NBC. China’s aim, of course, is to present another Potemkin village — a deep fake — and NBC will be there to televise it. Xi has warned “don’t criticize” his Olympics, so NBC will walk that line and avoid telling the truth. NBC will televise the façade, not the ugliness hidden behind it.
China should never have been allowed to host an Olympics. It’s a repressive authoritarian state run by committed communists intent on running and ruling the world. This will be the first Olympics I won’t watch. I’ve always had a love for the Olympics but it won’t get my patronage this year. I won’t watch a minute of NBC’s coverage this year. Maybe Lester Holt will again stand on a film stage as a willing puppet of an authoritarian regime, but I won’t see it.
No, thank you, NBC. Not this year. I’ll sit this one out.
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