US Media Outlets Peddle Chinese Propaganda as Olympics Begin in Beijing

NYT praises China's pandemic response; NBC presents 'both sides' of Uyghur genocide

Chinese president Xi Jinping (Getty Images)
February 4, 2022

China is hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics, which means U.S. media coverage of the brutal communist regime is going to be even more credulous and obsequious than usual over the next couple of weeks.

Just as the opening ceremonies were getting underway in Beijing, for example, the New York Times published an article that praises China's authoritarian response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government's "zero Covid" policy, comprised of strict lockdowns and other acts of state coercion, has been a major success, the Times reports.

How do they know it's been successful? Because China has one of the lowest COVID-19 death rates in the entire world, according to the Chinese government. The Times concedes that the Chinese data "can be suspect" but insists that China has "almost certainly" done a great job handling the pandemic, even if the official numbers are "artificially low." (China has reported just 3 deaths per million from COVID, compared with almost 2,700 in the United States.)

"China's success at controlling Covid had turned into a public relations triumph for the regime," write reporters David Leonhardt and Ian Prasad Philbrick. "President Xi Jinping uses China's management of the virus to bolster his global campaign for influence, arguing that China’s system of government works better than Western democracies do."

The article does not mention the origin of the virus (Wuhan) or the Chinese government's initial efforts to downplay the severity of the virus. It does, however, concede that China's containment measures have "disrupt[ed] daily life even more than in other countries," especially the ones that value "individual rights," such as the United States, where citizens are allowed to "disagree vehemently" about government policy.

NBCUniversal, the Comcast subsidiary responsible for producing U.S. coverage of the Olympics, was also quick to peddle Chinese propaganda during the opening ceremonies. Today show coanchor Savannah Guthrie provided credulous commentary on the (alleged) selection of a Uyghur athlete from Xinjiang province to light the Olympic torch.

"This moment is quite provocative. It's a statement from the Chinese president Xi Jinping," said Guthrie. "It is an in-your-face response to those Western nations, including the U.S., who have called this Chinese treatment of [Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang] genocide and diplomatically boycotted these games."

NBC's coverage of the opening ceremonies was marked by a "both sides" approach to China's systematic repression of Uyghur Muslims, which was repeatedly described as merely an allegation leveled by Western countries against the communist regime. "It has to be said that the Chinese government emphatically denies all of this," NBC commentators remarked. "They say that accusations of genocide are the lie of the century."

In other news, a Dutch reporter was manhandled by Chinese officials during a live broadcast, and News Corp announced that hackers working "to benefit China's interests" had stolen emails and other documents that belong to some of its journalists and other employees.