What’s Gone Wrong with Winter Olympics News Coverage?

News coverage of the Winter Olympics held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, needs some help. Here is a breakdown of what has gone wrong so far.

Not P. F. Chang’s

Chicago’s ABC affiliate confused the Winter Olympics’ location in Pyeongchang with the Asian-themed U.S. restaurant chain P. F. Chang’s, reported Vanity Fair.

A graphic saying “P. F. Chang 2018” aired on a weekend segment. According to Vanity Fair, station representative Jayme Nicholas said the piece was originally made for a satirical piece on Friday, but unfortunately got replicated on anchor Mark Rivera’s news story.

Fox 4 Anchor on Twitter

Fox 4 Weekend Sports Anchor Edward Egros took to Twitter to both praise and diss figure skaters, calling figure skating “not a sport.”

His tweet came as a quoted retweet of Twitter user Chubby Slob, who wrote, “Look, if you need to pick a song as part of your sport, I’m not going to respect your sport. I respect your art.”

Vincent Zhou, a 17-year-old making his Olympic debut for the USA’s figure skating team, fired back on Twitter, calling out the journalist’s opinion on what counts as a “real sport.”

NBC’s Issues, Part 1

NBC made so many errors that Vanity Fair devoted an entire article to pointing them out.

From Katie Couric’s bizarre explanation for why the Dutch are “really, really good at speed skating” (she attributed it to them skating across canals in winter) to the three-hour delay of skier Mikaela Shiffrin’s milestone giant-slalom run, NBC faced criticism of its coverage, Laura Bradley reported.

People took to Twitter to question NBC potentially straight-washing the opening ceremony. Cyd Zeigler wrote for Outsports that the network “failed to mention or highlight a single out LGBTQ athlete in its three hours of opening ceremony coverage,” along with not mentioning gay or lesbian athletes like skier Gus Kenworthy, skater Adam Rippon and skater Brittany Bowe.

“If there was some fleeting split-second mention of Kenworthy, we somehow missed it,” Zeigler wrote. Zeigler offered suggestions for what NBC should have done, but didn’t: Profile the men, mention their names or even provide a quick, “Hello!”

“My guess is NBC was more tone deaf than outwardly homophobic,” Zeigler wrote. “The importance of Rippon and Kenworthy’s historic Games isn’t even a subtle tremor for mainstream audiences and most of the people engaged in sports on a daily basis. It’s an earthquake for the LGBTQ community.”

NBC’s Issues, Part 2

NBC also “tiptoed” around sexual misconduct allegations against American snowboarder Shaun White, Callum Borchers reported for The Washington Post. NBC did not, according to Borchers, use its ample opportunities to grill White about an undisclosed settlement for a lawsuit by a woman who worked for White who said he sent her sexually explicit texts.

“Sexual misconduct is having a cultural moment right now, but not an Olympic moment on NBC,” Borchers wrote.

Then there is the backlash to the statement about Japan and Korea from NBC analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo, who said, “Every Korean will tell you that Japan, as a cultural an d technological and economic example, has been so important to their own transformation.”

“This is definitely not correct,” The Washington Post’s Avi Selk wrote. “Japan and South Korea have not fully reconciled over atrocities committed during the occupation.”

More than 22,000 people signed a petition demanding an apology from NBC for “defending Japanese imperialism.” The morning after the opening ceremonies, NBC apologized for Ramo’s remarks on air and in writing, and took Ramo off the assignment, Selk wrote.

“His incorrect and insensitive comment about Korea’s history has enraged many of its people,” wrote the Korea Times.

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