NPR's Nina Totenberg: I Don't Root for U.S. Olympics Victories

MRC's Mike Rule passed along to me that NPR legal reporter Nina Totenberg explained on the weekend chat show "Inside Washington" how she doesn't root for American wins at the Olympics: "I sort of like other countries to win a fair number of medals, it’s supposed to be an international competition, and it’s nice when other countries win. I don’t root for us particularly."

This is more proof that the liberal media are out of step with most Americans, who love to wave their flags and root for Apolo and Sasha and Shani and Chad and so on to win the gold. But Totenberg is not alone. In 2002, CBS and NBC anchors were extremely agitated at the thought of American "nationalism" ruining the games in Salt Lake City:

1. Matt Lauer: "You are expecting a greater wave of patriotism here in the United States, in this particular time, than other countries have shown when they’ve hosted the games."
Lloyd Ward, U.S. Olympic Committee President: "I certainly expect the stands to be rocking. I expect the flags to be flying. And you know, the expression of patriotism is fine for any country that hosts the
Olympics. We want to express our nationalism as a part of the world’s community and I expect to see that."
Lauer: "But we have to also be careful and draw a line not to let our patriotism get in the way of the games in general."
– Exchange on NBC’s Today, February 7, 2002.

2. "Obviously, the opening ceremony, the games themselves will be very patriotic in feel. And yet sometimes the international community can interpret that as arrogant nationalism. Obviously, you’ve gotta balance those two things. Are you all, clearly you’re mindful of that. How are you, how are you going to do that?"
– NBC’s Katie Couric questioning Salt Lake Olympic Committee Creative Director Scott Givens on Today, February 8, 2002.

3. Jane Clayson: "To see Jimmy Shea last night kissing that gold medal, it was really, his story is such an emotional highlight of these Olympic games."
Bryant Gumbel: "Yeah, but I liked what he said. He said that, you know, they shouldn’t be keeping a medal count, that this is not about nationalistic efforts, this is about individuals and medal counts don’t mean anything. Love that."
– Exchange on CBS’s Early Show, February 21.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis