Olympics: Fact or Fiction? Fact and fiction.
The Media and the Olympics: What is the role of media in mega-events?
Phil Le Good – Wake-Up with Coop CFRO, Vancouver Coop Radio
Benjamin Ernst - KBCS
Lindsay Toler – Snohomish County Tribune Newspapers, former Olympic News Service reporter
Why do we care:
- Lives in Vancouver, worked to expose non-democratic processes of Olympics organization, interested using media as propaganda tool in favor of Olympics
- How is GM a major national sponsor of the games when they just got major bailouts from both Canada and the US? GM will provide a fleet of over 4,600 vehicles from Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac.
- CBC can’t be unbiased because they are getting so many perks because the Olympics are in their country.
- We need to keep people accountable, and if were not doing that, we’re not journalists anymore.
- Indigenous groups were never asked for their OK for Olympic Games; Promises are broken;
- Lindsay: Went to Beijing Olympics;
- Ben: Local radio guy
- Aaron: Lived in Beijing for a year: saw before, during and after Olympics; citizen reporting/photography; Interested in Olympics history
What do we want to accomplish as a group
Phil: Mega events prevent scrutiny. What does the media need to wake up to? Should they be sponsoring the events? How do you cover events like this? How does alternative media do their job at a mega event/sporting events?
Ben: How do we tell stories of the “untold Olympics effects,” especially locally?
Aaron: What are the effects of the Olympics? What does it really mean to host an Olympics? What are the left out questions?
Lindsay: How was the Beijing Olympics different than other Olympics? What are the impacts of the Olympics on a city?
What do we know?
Phil: You have to follow this from the beginning. The Olympics story is about more than displacements, and the story starts years and years before the games.
When store owners go bankrupt and hospitals slash their budget, why don’t reporters see the connections to Olympics construction? They didn’t want to.
Who benefits? Who loses?
Feb 12: Olympic Resistance Movement: protesting the level of propaganda surrounding the Olympics/targeting “opponents;” Test: do people have right to assemble and free speech? They can’t restrict our free speech to “zones,” but you can’t challenge it by the Games. Officials have facial/voice recognition.
“It’s not going to be fun for people who live there… People don’t take the time to look at what’s happened at other cities.”
“There’s nothing you can do to stop the beast.”
The Olympics create inflation, and Canada’s construction costs are way higher than first estimated. The public can’t stomach real numbers.
The media can’t report real stories years before the Games because then, what will they write when they get closer to the Games? Stories on impacts have to come the week before the Olympics — not during, and not long before.
Aaron: How did Beijing change before, during and after the Olympics? The closer it got to the event, it became more important for a certain “face” to be put up. Olympic committees are less democratic than China, and no one mentions it. This is all about sponsors, and sponsors want something whitewashed, organized, permitted. It was quiet during the games. Locals were told to leave — and that always happens.
“You’re essentially changing that community. To look a predetermined way that looks the way the money behind it and the people representing that money want. Its’ supposed to be about good will, peace, justice all these things, but just the way that it operates its pretty clear that’s not a priority.”
As a reader, you can’t tell what is an isolated event, what is a negative consequence to the Olympics, and what just happens in that country?
Giant money making machines become the driving purpose of what the Olympics mean. It’s a way to put a family friendly face on bubble capitalism.
If it is supposed to be about athletics, why did they cut Beijing’s schools athletics budget?
Olympics reveal what a country’s real priorities are — well, not the country, the power structures running the country.
We sure looked at Beijing differently than we are looking at Vancouver or any other Olympics, for that matter.
What is KBCS doing: Sending a correspondent, Adam Vaughn. Phone interviews with people who have a finger on the pulse of the Olympics’ untold stories.
Things people should read:
-- Lindsay Toler