Conservative watchdog calls on NBC to put a spotlight on China’s human rights abuses during Olympic coverage

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Conservative watchdog calls on NBC to put a spotlight on China’s human rights abuses during Olympic coverage

Media Research Center president Brent Bozell sent scathing letters to NBC Sports and NBC News on Tuesday, urging the network to put a spotlight on

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Media Research Center president Brent Bozell sent scathing letters to NBC Sports and NBC News on Tuesday, urging the network to put a spotlight on China’s human rights abuses during coverage of the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics. 

“NBC News and NBC Sports have an obligation to provide full context during the Winter Olympics precisely because ignoring these events will play into China’s hands, and once again allow the Olympics to be used as a propaganda tool,” Bozell wrote. 

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The letters, which have been also obtained by Fox News Digital, were addressed to NBC Sports chairman Pete Bevacqua, top NBC play-by-play broadcaster Mike Tirico, NBC Sports president Gary Zenkel and NBC News president Noah Oppenheim. 

Protesters hold posters during a protest against Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics by activists of the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe in front of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.

Protesters hold posters during a protest against Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics by activists of the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe in front of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.
(Jean-Guy Python/Keystone via AP)

“Every four years, the Winter Olympic Games are supposed to unite the world and showcase every nation’s athleticism. This year is different. China is hosting the Winter Olympics after unleashing COVID-19 on the world. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) botched the handling of the virus, refused to be transparent, and created fierce propaganda,” Bozell wrote. 

“The CCP oppresses and murders the Uyghurs, cracks down on legitimate protests in Hong Kong and silences those who raise justifiable grievances. Although some might prefer to carry on, pretending that nothing is wrong, we cannot,” Bozell continued. “NBC News and NBC Sports need to devote significant on-air reporting during the Olympics to telling the truth about the devastation caused by the Chinese Communist Party. The CCP intends to use the Games as a political showcase to both project strength and to create an image of itself that is at odds with the ugly truth. Capitulating to their wishes in silence is unacceptable, irresponsible and nothing less than propaganda.” 

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Bozell urged NBC to cover the “CCP’s years-long genocide against Uyghur Muslims” so that Americans are informed about what is actually taking place where the games are being held. China’s “egregious response to COVID-19 must be covered,” too, according to Bozell. 

“The CCP rejected efforts by the World Health Organization to investigate the origins of the virus, making it more difficult for scientists to learn its true origins, how to fight it, and how to prevent another global pandemic,” Bozell wrote. “The CCP then went on to repeatedly lie about the number of cases and deaths in their country, once again stalling the global response. The CCP tried to absurdly blame the U.S. Army for COVID-19, then blamed other countries instead of taking any responsibility for the pandemic. NBC has a responsibility to tell the truth about the Chinese Communist Party during their Olympic coverage.”

Media Research Center president Brent Bozell sent scathing letters to NBC Sports and NBC News on Tuesday, urging the network to put a spotlight on China’s human rights abuses during coverage of the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics. 

Media Research Center president Brent Bozell sent scathing letters to NBC Sports and NBC News on Tuesday, urging the network to put a spotlight on China’s human rights abuses during coverage of the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics. 

Last month, a group of lawmakers sent a similar letter to NBC’s top brass urging them to put a spotlight on human rights protests as China is expected to propagandize the Olympic Games. 

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NBC Olympics Production president and executive producer Molly Solomon has since insisted the Peacock network will include appropriate coverage of China’s role in the world and the abuses taking place under its oppressive government.

“We are going to be focusing on telling the stories of Team USA and covering the competition,” Solomon said in response to lawmakers. “We understand that there are some difficult issues regarding the host nation, so our coverage will provide perspective on China’s place in the world and the geopolitical context in which these Games are being held. But the athletes do remain the centerpiece of our coverage.”

Bozell, who is skeptical after an MRC study NBC News’ evening and morning news programs spent on 12 minutes covering China policy stories in 2021, also wants NBC to inform Americans about the CCP’s forced labor camps, the oppression in Hong Kong, and the story of tennis star Peng Shuai.

NBC News president The Media Research Center has urged NBC News president Noah Oppenheim to cover China’s human rights abuses during coverage of the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics. 

NBC News president The Media Research Center has urged NBC News president Noah Oppenheim to cover China’s human rights abuses during coverage of the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics. 
(Leigh Vogel/Getty Images)

“Last November, Shuai accused a high-ranking Chinese official of sexual assault on social media, only to have the post deleted by the CCP minutes later. She immediately disappeared, and when she was finally allowed to reappear in public, it was carefully staged. When other women have come forward with similarly horrifying allegations of sexual abuse, the CCP has similarly censored their claims and made them disappear,” Bozell wrote. 

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) plans to hold its first face-to-face meeting with Shuai during the Games. 

“NBC should have boycotted as well, but can make up for it now by covering the atrocities caused by the CCP. If not, they, like so many others, are capitulating to the Chinese Communist Party on their censorship demands,” Bozell wrote to conclude the letter. “This isn’t some moral dilemma. NBC must honestly cover what China is doing and not pretend that this is a typical Olympics.”

NBC declined comment.

Last week, Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee called on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to implement a process to brief all American athletes traveling to Beijing on the same issues Bozell hopes NBC spotlights. 

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Competitions will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 2, with the start of the curling events. The Olympics opening ceremonies begin on Friday, Feb. 4. Medals will start being awarded in various competitions on Saturday, Feb. 5.

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn, Caitlin McFall, Ryan Gaydos and Peter Aitken contributed to this report. 

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