You Think NBC is Bad? You Haven’t Seen CCTV.
Now that the games have actually started, a viewer can find live broadcasts of everything from archery to volleyball all day long. Television anchors are endlessly cuing up musical montages of Chinese gold medal performances in weightlifting, shooting, gymnastics, and diving. When not broadcasting events, Chinese programmers are filling the airwaves with features such as “Mothers Who Are Also Olympic Competitors” and “Kids Who Have Shaved the Olympics Logo Into Their Heads.” Enthusiastic coverage is of course not unique to the Chinese—I remember watching my share of slo-mo U.S. medalist montages set to Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time.” But what’s on television in China right now shows what happens when you combine tight state control with typically overwrought, patriotic sports coverage. CCTV is like NBC on steroids … and growth hormone, and EPO, and albuterol.