The Winter Olympics in Russia are well under way beneath a cloud of numerous human rights violations in the host country. One media watchdog group claims NBC's coverage from Sochi has been predictably one-sided.
The Media Research Center has found that leading up to the opening ceremony, NBC filed 13 times more reports on Russia's "gay propaganda" ban than on attacks by rebels on Syrian Christians. Dan Gainor, MRC's vice president of business and culture, said journalists love to preen as human rights watchdogs, sworn to secure the life and liberty of the oppressed – as long as it's the right kind of downtrodden.
"NBC has done everything they can in the build-up to this Olympics to make it the 'gay Olympics,'" he offers. "They've interviewed all the different members of Obama's gay delegation* to Russia; [and] they've bombarded us with coverage [of the issue] in both morning and evening news shows."
Gainor says no one is going to defend Russia, as the communist nation has an abysmal human rights record. But the issue, he believes, is: What is the larger human rights concern? NBC's ran 26 stories on the "gay propaganda" law – but two during the same time period on how Christians were treated in Syria.
"Syria – the nation where more than 130,000 people have been killed, where they've been at war for more than two years, [and] where the last time I heard three-million people are refugees," he adds.
During a news conference, Bob Costas, the network's primary host of the Olympics, said viewers would most likely be "curious about" the human rights issues in Russia.
* Editor's note: President Obama's selections to the U.S. delegation for the opening and closing ceremonies included several openly homosexual athletes: tennis great Billie Jean King, former Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano, and women's hockey player Caitlin Cahow.