COMMENTS: No Olympic Propaganda

Just as ABC's Laura Marquez did Monday, NBC's Peter Alexander and CBS' Ben Tracy (no link) previewed the protests against human rights abuses in the People's Republic of China as the torch relay en route to the Beijing Olympics passes through San Francisco. The day's protests were outside the PRC's consulate; coming up is "major star power," as CBS' Tracy put it, including pro-Tibet movie star Richard Gere and anti-apartheid Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu. Bracing for protests at every torch handover on its global route, the International Olympic Committee is "not considering canceling the around-the-world route," NBC's Alexander reported. San Francisco was chosen for "its large and historic Chinese community," Alexander added, whose leaders object to the protests as "misdirected."

For ABC's A Closer Look, John Berman (embargoed link) wondered how softball players and skaters and water polo players were balancing their dedication to sport with their civic conscience. Several Olympians have formed Team Darfur in protest against "the violence in Sudan and China's sale of weapons to the Sudanese government." Berman reminded us of the black fisted podium protests by Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the Mexico City Games before quoting from the Olympic Charter: it forbids athletes from staging "demonstrations" or "political, religious or racial propaganda at Olympic venues."


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