Report: NBC Sliced Out Olympic Official's Anti-Russia Slam in Opening Ceremonies

For any media critic keeping score on whether NBC is cutting corners to be kind to help their Russian hosts, the sports-journalism blog Deadspin reports that International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach made a statement during the Opening Ceremonies that included a not-so-veiled punch at the Russians and their speech-squashing “gay propaganda” law, telling the athletes it’s possible to live together in harmony “with tolerance and without any form of discrimination for whatever reason.”

“Viewers worldwide heard the statement; NBC viewers in the U.S. did not, because the network edited it out.” Bach said in part:

You are bringing the Olympic Values to life. In this way, the Olympic Games, wherever they take place, set an example for a peaceful society. Olympic Sport unites people. This is the Olympic Message the athletes spread to the host country and to the whole world. Yes, it is possible to strive even for the greatest victory with respect for the dignity of your competitors. Yes, Yes, it is possible -- even as competitors -- to live together under one roof in harmony, with tolerance and without any form of discrimination for whatever reason. Yes, it is possible - even as competitors - to listen, to understand and to give an example for a peaceful society.

Deadspin reports that NBC also did this at the Opening Ceremonies in London in 2012:

The major transitional element of today's London Olympics opening ceremony was a downtempo performance of adoptive sporting anthem "Abide With Me" by Scottish singer Emeli Sandé. The song and accompanying dance were a tribute to the victims of the 7/7 terror attacks in London that claimed 52 victims days after the 2012 Summer Olympic hosts were named. (It's also been suggested the performance was a memorial to the war dead.)

Regardless, it was a rather significant and emotional moment in the opening ceremony, coming just before the parade of nations—and it wasn't aired in the United States. Instead, viewers were treated to a lengthy and meaningless Ryan Seacrest interview of Michael Phelps. NBC regularly excises small portions of the opening ceremony to make room for commercials, but we've never heard of them censoring out an entire performance—especially to air an inane interview.

[HT: Dan Gainor]

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