I can’t count the number of articles I’ve seen on NYT talking about the upcoming Beijing Olympics, yet I think I only remember maybe two positive entries. Every other article focuses on the pollution in Beijing, China’s treatment of human rights, and whatever other problems and issues they can find to throw a negative light on Beijing, China, and the Chinese government. I have kept my thoughts to largely to myself and only occasionally voiced them to close friends, but I think I’m going to say something now.
Let me begin by stating that I have no problem with any media issueing criticisms; in fact, that is one of the major roles of media. However, that does not justify the highly biased mannor in which these attacks are thrown at China, and with increasing frequency as the Games approach nearer. I don’t think it takes a genius to realize that there is more to the large number of negative articles on China, it’s is clearly create attention, and not in any way positive. Even now, four days from the opening ceremony, there are articles questioning if Beijing should hold the Olympics at all.
I don’t mind if these criticisms were checked by some kind of attempt at objectivity, or a couple of more articles focused more on how much China has done in preparation for the Games. It’s natural for people to want to pay more attention to the country and the city that is hosting the Olympics, but really, must the media be so painfully biased in its representation? Isn’t there some kind of obligation to at least try to present a balanced view? Apparently not.
I have no illusion that Beijing is a perfect city, or that the Chinese government has no problem whatsoever. But couldn’t I say the same about just any other city or government in the world? I have to admit that I haven’t paid much attention to the media coverage of other Olympics; I vaguely remember the general fear that Athens was not prepared for the Olympics. But has the media coverage of every host city always been so negative? Everyone knows that the Games are meant to promote peace and international diplomacy and, but is this hightened scrutiny of every flaw of the host city really necessary?
Some argue that the Game was offered to Beijing with hopes of China making improvements and becoming a better nation, well it has, yet I’ve only read one such article among dozens recognizing these achievements. I’m not asking for every article to pat China on the head and shower it with compliments, but really, enough with all these talks of human rights and the pollution. I think we have all heard of these arguments hundreds of times before, and bringing them up again and again just days before the Game does not benefit anyone. It can only been seen as an insensitive way of using the Olympics to garner attention. The Games should be used to draw attention to the country, the culture, and even its problems, but let’s not only focus on the flaws and perhaps try to appreciate its many better aspects more.