Blackout: NBC Ignores Stories on Sochi Corruption

Blackout: NBC Ignores Stories on Sochi Corruption

NBC News has claimed that its news division is walled off from its other divisions, but NBC is continuing its tradition of blacking out or downplaying some of the seedier stories dealing with the International Olympic Committee and the Games by ignoring the multitude of corruption stories about the Sochi Games. 

NBC has televised all of the Olympics since the 1988 Summer Olympics.

The Washington Post noted that “NBC hasn’t reported on allegations that an alleged Russian mobster and Putin crony, Gafur Rakhimov, was instrumental in swaying the selection of Sochi as the Winter Olympics site among IOC voters.” They have also not reported on the crony capitalism and corruption associated with the games–like other outlets like Breitbart News and ABC News have done. 

Breitbart News reported that Rakhimov, one of the world’s top heroin dealers, may have secured the crucial votes of the Central Asian countries to bring the Winter Games to Sochi and has documented that even a plurality of Russians, according to a recent survey, believe that the “cost of the Sochi Games has soared due to widespread corruption.” 

A Levada Research Group poll found that “47 percent of people believed the cost of hosting the Games, widely expected to pass $50 billion, has soared because funds have been embezzled or mismanaged.” The poll also found that “only 22 percent said they believed officials or businessmen responsible for pilfering funds would be brought to justice after the Olympics,” and “43 percent oppose the country bidding to host a summer Games” while only 32 percent are in support.  

“The network least likely to cover the most scandalous elements of Sochi is NBC,” Peter Hart, an analyst with the media watchdog organization Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), told the Post.  “It’s always possible that there will be some dramatic incident, a planned athlete protest or demonstration, that they can’t ignore. But when it comes down to it, is it more important to document human rights in Russia or to get people to watch the coverage? I suspect it’s the latter.”

What is perhaps more incredible is that a Nexis database found that “NBC News has never mentioned allegations — documented in two books and highlighted in reports by HBO and CBS’s 60 Minutes — that the longtime former head of the IOC, the late Juan Antonio Samaranch, had been part of the Fascist establishment in Spain until the death of long-time dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco in 1975.” The network has reportedly not “reported” on this matter even after his death. 

Most recently with the planned Hillary Clinton movie, NBC News claimed that its news division was supposedly independent from its other divisions–like the entertainment division. But NBC News’ coverage–or lack thereof–of the widespread corruption associated with the Olympics suggests that is not often the case.