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Whatever the message Xi Jinping was trying to send with his selection of a Uyghur girl to light the Olympic torch in Beijing has backfired in a spectacularly authoritarian way.
It started with a tweet from Mediaite writer Jackson Richman, calling out NBC’s Savannah Guthrie for her commentary as the torch-lighting ceremony commenced.
WATCH: @SavannahGuthrie calls a reported Uyghur co-lighting the Olympic flame, chosen by Xi Jinping, “an in-your-face response to those Western nations, including the U.S., who have called this Chinese treatment of that group genocide and diplomatically boycotted these games.” pic.twitter.com/NBRtIOROJt
— Jackson Richman (@jacksonrichman) February 4, 2022
As reported in the Washington Examiner, in the now-scrubbed clip of the live broadcast, Guthrie is heard saying: “This moment is quite provocative. It’s a statement from the Chinese President Xi Jinping to choose an athlete from the Uyghur minority. It is an in-your-face response to those Western nations, including the U.S., who have called this Chinese treatment of that group ‘genocide’ and diplomatically boycotted these games.”
“There will be much discussion about this,” Guthrie added.
Guthrie wasn’t wrong, though it was likely not the discussion NBC or the CCP wanted to have.
“Here’s how I would’ve framed it, commenting on the moment: ‘Xi is trying to manipulate the world with this twisted move,'” tweeted Richman.
Here's how I would've framed it, commenting on the moment: "Xi is trying to manipulate the world with this twisted move."
— Jackson Richman (@jacksonrichman) February 4, 2022
Others shared a similar take on Guthrie’s comments. “Shame on NBC,” wrote one user.
What on EARTH is this coverage? Xi couldn't have written a better script himself. Shame on NBC. https://t.co/2Jz8LK2udd
— Abigail Marone 🇺🇸 (@abigailmarone) February 4, 2022
Florida Senator Rick Scott called the spectacle “disgusting.”
“@NBCOlympics is reading General Secretary Xi’s talking points live on air from the safety of it’s HQ in the United States,” Scott tweeted.
Disgusting. @NBCOlympics is reading General Secretary Xi’s talking points live on air from the safety of its HQ in the United States. https://t.co/YVRLHG7vdb
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) February 4, 2022
The House Judiciary GOP blasted NBC for “spewing the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda during the Olympics,” adding that the Dems “China” bill does nothing to hold the CCP accountable.
NBC is spewing the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda during the Olympics.
Democrats are passing a “China” bill that doesn’t actually hold the CCP accountable.
Americans know this:
No one was tougher on China than President Trump!
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) February 4, 2022
Missouri Representative Vicky Hartzler asked, “Why is the liberal mainstream media peddling #CPP propaganda?”
China is committing genocide against the Uyghurs.
Why is the liberal mainstream media peddling #CCP propaganda? https://t.co/pw0dhBa5Ai
— Rep. Vicky Hartzler (@RepHartzler) February 4, 2022
Journalist Melissa Chen believes she knows the answer. “Bear in mind how NBC Universal might be compromised as you watch their coverage of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics,” she urged followers, noting that a Universal theme park would soon be opened in Beijing.
Bear in mind how NBC Universal might be compromised as you watch their coverage of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics https://t.co/NqlRJRJ4ao pic.twitter.com/fJAjVQg5ll
— Melissa Chen (@MsMelChen) February 4, 2022
No, none of this was the narrative neither NBC nor the International Olympic Committee were going for, so they did exactly what you would expect organizations who are beholden to authoritarian, genocidal regimes would do: They pulled the video.
The clip, which was disabled by Twitter Saturday, now comes with a proclamation: “This video has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner.”
Apparently, the IOC or representatives acting on its behalf lobbied Twitter to have the video, which quickly went viral for all the wrong reasons, removed from the social media platform.
And they succeeded.
“Per our copyright policy, we responded to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives,” a Twitter spokesperson told the Examiner.
The move prompted Richman to post an update.
“Looks like @nbc didn’t appreciate me calling out @SavannahGuthrie parroting Chinese Communist Party propaganda,” he tweeted.
— Jackson Richman (@jacksonrichman) February 6, 2022
It’s just another example of broadcasters seemingly going soft of China’s well-known, much-acknowledged human rights atrocities.
After Nancy Pelosi attempted to terrify athletes with a warning against angering the “ruthless” Chinese with any protests, The View’s Joy Behar described her warning as “maternal.”
And an ESPN guest was blasted for telling viewers they needed to “compartmentalize” in order to enjoy the games.
.@jadande talks about reconciling watching the Beijing Winter Olympics amid China's human rights crisis pic.twitter.com/mqkOygjBXV
— Around The Horn (@AroundtheHorn) February 4, 2022
The Biden administration, which has publicly acknowledged China’s ongoing genocide of its Uyghur population has “diplomatically” boycotted the games.
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