Speaking of suppressed ideas and sloppy discourse, NBC is really going out of its way to make the Russians happy in its Sochi Olympics coverage. Did you catch the powerful statement International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach delivered against discrimination and intolerance, widely interpreted as a slam against Russia’s treatment of homosexuals? No? That’s because NBC didn’t air it for American audiences. I don’t mean that they failed to air a speech the rest of the world saw. They just hacksawed out the minute or so of rhetoric that would have made the Russians unhappy.
This is what an American news organization decided American viewers didn’t need to hear:
Now you are living in an Olympic Region. I am sure you will enjoy the benefits for many, many years to come. Thousands of volunteers have welcomed us with the well-known warm Russian hospitality. Many thanks to all the wonderful volunteers. Bolshoi spasiba, valantyoram! Thank you very much to everyone. Russia and the Russians have set the stage for you, the best winter athletes on our planet.
From this moment on you are not only the best athletes, you are Olympic Athletes. You will inspire us with your outstanding sports performances. You have come here for sports. You have come here with your Olympic dream. The International Olympic Committee wants your Olympic Dream to come true. This is why we are investing almost all of our revenues in the development of sports. The universal Olympic rules apply to each and every athlete- no matter where you come from or what your background is.
You are living together in the Olympic Village. You will celebrate victory with dignity and accept defeat with dignity. You are bringing the Olympic Values to life. In this way, the Olympic Games, wherever they take place, set an example for a peaceful society. Olympic Sport unites people. This is the Olympic Message the athletes spread to the host country and to the whole world. Yes, it is possible to strive even for the greatest victory with respect for the dignity of your competitors. Yes, Yes, it is possible – even as competitors – to live together under one roof in harmony, with tolerance and without any form of discrimination for whatever reason. Yes, it is possible – even as competitors – to listen, to understand and to give an example for a peaceful society.
Well, at least it’s not American media shilling for the Communists any more, right? Except they did that too. In a jaw-dropping line from NBC’s introductory montage for Sochi, the network referred to communism, which slaughtered over 100 million people, enslaved many times that number, and brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation – as a “pivotal experiment.” It’s a good thing Hitler and his crew didn’t have a few generations of Western liberals eager to whitewash their crimes.
Sochi stacks up pretty well against the grimmer industrial failures of central planning, what with its “dangerous face water” and hotel doors that must be opened by smashing them down, after spending four years and billions of dollars preparing to host the world’s highest-profile sporting event. It sometimes seems as though the biggest difference between Putinism and Soviet communism is that the kleptocrats are less interested in sanctimonious posturing about how they’re building a “workers’ paradise” from the comfort of their luxury estates.