Somebody asked me this weekend about the status of whether we’d boycott the Sochi Olympics. Well, other than Obama saying we wouldn’t at his press conference on Friday, I hadn’t seen a good round-up of the issues involved, so here’s a good one, and this is infuriating:
NBC Universal, which has paid $4 billion dollars for the rights to cover the Olympics from 2014 through 2020, has also been squirmy. Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin’s letter (pdf) asking them to include news of Russia’s human rights violations alongside their standard Olympics coverage has elicited a hasty if mealy-mouthed response from the network saying that it will “provide coverage of Russia’s anti-gay laws if the controversial measures surface as an issue during the upcoming Winter Olympics”. In short, they’re punting for now and hoping we’ll all forget about it.
We’re supposed to sit through hours of treacly-sweet NBC puff pieces about the noble struggles of our Olympians, but NBC isn’t going to commit to saying a word about Russia’s awful treatment of gays unless, what, beating up homosexuals is part of the opening ceremonies? I guess some skier’s struggle with a pulled hamstring is more important than the killing, maiming and scapegoating of a whole segment of the host country population.
Sending our athletes to Sochi has the potential to cause more agida for Russia than a boycott simply because Americans will pay very little attention, positive or negative, to Sochi if there aren’t Americans competing there. But, while NBC has our attention, how about committing a little bit of journalism to show everyone how assholic the Russians really are?
And, yeah, Stoli is Russian vodka, but it is funny to see Stoli’s parent company start telling us it’s really Latvian vodka now that it’s being boycotted.
(via Dan Savage)