And this is why you don’t award the Olympic Games to an authoritarian regime looking to use them as propaganda, boys and girls.
The first night of the XXIVth Winter Olympiad in Beijing was pretty much an encapsulation of what you can expect over the next fortnight — assuming you even care. If you were watching in the United States, you were among sparse company: The opening ceremony drew only 7.7 million viewers, putting the Games on pace to be the least-watched in recent history. And, if you were tuning in from the Netherlands, you got to see one of your country’s reporters manhandled on air by a thuggish Chinese apparatchik.
This could have been predicted from the beginning — and, in fact, we’ve been busy predicting it here at The Western Journal while mainstream media was trying to stay neutral. We’ll continue to cover the shameful decision to award Xi Jinping’s repressive regime the Olympics. You can help us bring readers the truth by subscribing.
So, the opening ceremony. Perhaps you get the attraction. I stopped taking them seriously when, as a young boy, I remember watching the opening ceremony to the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics in a hotel room on a family trip and saw choreographed pickup trucks criss-crossing the field, apparently in some attempt to relay Southern culture to the rest of the world. Since that point, I’ve considered every last minute of these interminable pageants wholly extraneous, which is why I had anything better to do than watch this on Friday:
Children with the theme song of the opening ceremony: Snowflakes.
Purity, peace and solidarity. pic.twitter.com/FDkKsZ0wET
— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) February 4, 2022
On this side of the world, Americans showed remarkable solidarity … in avoiding the first day of the games.
According to entertainment industry publication TV Line, the first night of competition on Thursday drew 7.7 million total viewers and a 1.3 rating in the always-coveted 18-49 demographic. Hollywood publication Deadline had it tracking lower with 7.39 million viewers and a 1.2 demo rating, although that just included TV affiliates.
We may have to wait a bit to figure out what the ratings on the opening ceremony were. Because of the time difference, as Programming Insider notes, the ceremony didn’t take place until 6:30 a.m. Eastern on Friday — so it was aired live in the morning and again in prime time.
However, whether it’s 7.39 or 7.7 for Thursday’s prime-time Olympic coverage on NBC, the numbers are cataclysmic. Yes, it was the top show Thursday, but that’s to be expected. To put this into context, the previous low for any night of Olympic competition on NBC was 8.5 million for the final night of competition at last year’s delayed Tokyo Games. (NBC has broadcast the Summer Olympics since 1988 and the Winter Games since 2002.)
This is down 55 percent from the first night of competition at the Pyeongchang, South Korea, Winter Olympics in 2018 and 64 percent from 2014, as Outkick the Coverage’s Clay Travis noted:
Just 7.2 million people watched the first day of the Olympics from China. That’s down 55% from 2018 and down 64% from 2014. Americans are overwhelmingly refusing to watch an Olympics that features athletes and countries bowing down to Chinese dictators. Love to see it.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) February 4, 2022
Moreover, while ratings for the opening ceremony coverage aren’t out yet, it would take a miracle for it to match the over 28 million that watched the ceremony in Pyeongchang. If the trend continues, Beijing’s genocide games will be the lowest-rated of all time:
Via Sports Media Watch, average primetime Olympics viewership —
Tokyo last year was least-watched ever; Beijing 2022 set to plumb new depths pic.twitter.com/xqDzKmZO4c
— Medium Buying (@MediumBuying) February 4, 2022
And you can’t say the Chinese authorities are trying to manage the impression this is a propaganda Games run by a strong-armed government that aims to control every aspect of what goes on in its borders — including (especially) the Games.
Just ask Sjoerd den Daas, a Dutch public broadcasting correspondent:
Onze correspondent @sjoerddendaas werd om 12.00u live in het NOS Journaal door beveiligers voor de camera weggetrokken. Helaas is dit steeds vaker de dagelijkse realiteit voor journalisten in China. Hij is in orde en kon zijn verhaal gelukkig een paar minuten later afmaken pic.twitter.com/GLTZRlZV96
— NOS (@NOS) February 4, 2022
Den Daas was reporting from outside Beijing National Stadium, home to the opening ceremony, when he was manhandled by a Chinese official who tried to drag him off camera.
“Our correspondent @sjoerddendaas was pulled away from the camera by security guards at 12.00 pm live in the NOS Journaal. Unfortunately, this is increasingly becoming a daily reality for journalists in China. He is fine and was able to finish his story a few minutes later,” the public broadcaster tweeted, according to the New York Post.
No definitive explanation has, as of Saturday morning, been given for why den Daas was accosted — but that’s the point. The Chinese government doesn’t have to give any. The scuffle was the message. The only statement given was by the International Olympic Committee, the same shills who awarded the games to the most repressive superpower on Earth; according to ESPN, they merely said the security guard was “being overzealous.”
About what? They don’t care, so why should you?
The Beijing Olympic Games are taking place under a cloud of Uyghur genocide in Xinjiang province, human rights violations on a massive scale, the quashing of free speech in Hong Kong, the systematic surveillance of over 1 billion people, those systematic surveillance tactics being applied to athletes and the complicity of Western multinationals who sponsor the Games, all so China can put on an expensive propaganda display for the world.
Thank heaven the world’s not watching. The International Olympic Committee awarded the Games to a despotic regime where politics cannot help but be mixed with the athletics — an ugly, tiring spectacle at the best of times. Before these Games are done, there’s a better chance than not that the IOC will be taught a hard lesson.