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Marianne Paskowski

NBC’s Olympian Challenge

March 28, 2008 2:21 PM

Sure, NBC has the bragging rights for securing coverage of the upcoming Summer Olympic Games.

Too bad, though, that the games are being held in strife-ridden Beijing this August.

With the bragging rights comes a nonstop public relations nightmare for the Peacock and advertisers in the games. Human rights activists are already threatening boycotts, but to date not a single advertiser has pulled out. But this late in the game; according to published reports the events are only 70 percent sold out.

As Business Week points out this week, as the torch-lighting ceremonies take place and the torch makes its trek around the world to Beijing, plenty more could go wrong. Why in the world the International Olympic Committee settled on Beijing in the first place is beyond my comprehension.

First there’s the air quality issue that one marathoner contended led to his decision to sit this one out. Steven Spielberg, resigned his role as artistic adviser in the face of China’s role in the genocide in Darfur.

U.S. President George W. Bush said that he would attend for day one, but France’s president is still on the fence about supporting the games.

So PR mavens, how would you put lipstick on this pig?


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Comments (12)

Andy S.:

"Why in the world the International Olympic Committee settled on Beijing in the first place is beyond my comprehension."

Can you say "Salt Lake City"? That'd be my guess; a big under-the-table deal of some kind.

As for putting lipstick on the pig, NBC will do what Olympic broadcasters have been doing for some time now: focus on the human interest stories. And I'm sure there are many that can be found in Beijing. The big question in my mind is: how much control will the Chinese government have over the kinds of stories NBC will be able to tell?

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Andy,
The Chinese government, if you follow this stuff, has already told NBC how much coverage they can produce live from Tianamen (sp) Square.Remember the canings?

Personally, I'm curious about this. First the dog food scandal, then the tainted ingredients for the blood thinner Hepatin.

The Chinese are also notorious for shutting down web sites, like FaceBook, if they don't like what outsiders are saying.

This should be interesting.

Thanks for your post,

Jeff Mulligan:

Marianne --

Nice try, but the only lipstick the IOC will recover is if they admit they goofed, and unless the Chinese get out of Tibet and stop supporting Darfur genocide, not to mention letting democracy protesters do their thin in Tianamen Square, the IOC should quit the event and lead the world to show that unprincipled merchantilism isn't acceptable to the international community.



Yo Blondie --

You do business with totalitarians and you expect fairness and good PR? Make a bet on doing a deal with the Devil and when it goes sour, be an adult and recognize you lost. Otherwise, the blood of protesting Tibetans is on the hands of every uncritical Olympics fan and profiteer

Cuisin' not bruisin'

Marianne Paskowski:

The IOC is not going to back out of this deal, that's unrealistic. And I guess NBC has its hand tied by its corporate parent GE which just bought some Chinese airplanes. Check out GE's trading symbol, GE, and you'll see where I'm going.

This whole thing smells, and it's going to get stink more. Again, the US has sold out to the Chinese Communists.

The first mistake was to let companies like Baidu, the Google of China exchange on the American exchange via foreign exchange vehicles. The Chinese don't play by the rules. Ask investors who were burned.

Thanks for posting,

Marianne Paskowski:


I remain a protester, and can't believe this is happening.


Andy S.:

The Chinese are funding an increasing percentage of our national debt; that means they own a piece of everything we do, from the wars in the Middle East to the "economic stimulus" checks many of us will soon be receiving. And you're all worried about the OLYMPICS??? Once the cows have left the barn, it's way too late to shut the door.

Marianne Paskowski:

Frankly I'm more concerned about the hedge funds shorting stocks after trading and pre-trading hours than the influence of the Chinese on the US economy.


There are ninety plus days to re-evaluate whether or not we americans should support, be involved with, or televise the games from China.

There are the issues with China and Tibet, there are the ever increasing matters regarding how Chinese officialdom is treating their own people in and around the Olympic area.

Last night (March 31, 2008), ABC News ran a story about the unpaid evictions of hundreds Chinese who are "in the way" of the Olympic village. Their properties seized and immediately given the wreckage ball. Within minutes over on NBC they were running a piece on the Olympic Flame and the ceremony yesterday. Not one mention, or reference to the forced evictions.

China has millions of wonderful people, but we can not allow ourselves to become pawns in support of the Chinese Government's propaganda machine.

NBC had better take a long look at the bigger picture over the next ninety days. The American Olympic Committee, as well as the International Olympic Committee, should do likewise. The games should not be guided by politics, nor can the played over the mashed rights of good human beings.

Peter Bright

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Peter,
I don't know how anyone can back out this late in the game. It was just a bad decision from the get go.

Guess Communism lives on...

Backing out is easy, it is the last step. Before that the following difficult and challenging steps must take place:

Having the depth of understanding of the entire situation, calling it to the attention of the world, stating succinctly the reasons for getting out and then actually getting out.

That is called moral fiber and doing the right thing.

If the Chinese government has so little regard for their own citizens, do we really think their ideology will stop at the border with regards to the future?

If they value impressions of China in the world arena, then there has to be full accountability, not just want they want seen.
Peter Bright

Marianne Paskowski:


I don't think you're right. Millions of dollars have already exchanged hands, probably with penalties for defaults.

I agree with you. I think this is a mess. I hate how China invites US industrialists into the country to invest, not just GE, or now NBC, but anybody. Name any sector. They are there.

However, the foreign press, this country's and others is largely still barred from China. That's a huge problem for me. You can't cut it both ways, but China has done just that.

Thanks for keeping the thread going, so surprised there's so little coverage about this,but when you read about how CBS has just cut its news division, I guess we shouldn't be surprised.


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