COMMENTS: Eyes Turn to China

The mounting excitement about the Olympic Games made this a very light day for domestic news. A Sikorsky S-61N firefighting helicopter crashed in California's Shasta-Trinity National Forest, killing nine of those on board. ABC's Lisa Stark (embargoed link) covered the accident from Washington while George Lewis filed a brief stand-up from Los Angeles. Both ABC and CBS used the high price of food as a hook for feature coverage: CBS' Seth Doane took us to a food pantry in Endicott NY for his The Other America series; ABC's Erin Hayes showed us St Louis residents growing their own veggies in inner city community gardens.

As for those Olympics: NBC's Richard Engel looked at Beijing's airtight security to clamp down on political protests and civil unrest. CBS' Barry Petersen showed us the drills in polite manners and English phrases to make the populace hospitable to foreign sports fans. On ABC's A Closer Look, Stephanie Sy stated that the Games' sponsors, such as McDonald's, have exerted zero pressure on China's Communist rulers to moderate their abuses of human rights. In fact, "there is evidence that the Olympics have actually deprived people of rights. Ahead of the Games, dozens of prominent dissidents were jailed or placed under house arrest." ABC also had Lisa Fletcher (no link) profile Lopez Lomong, the track and field athlete who will carry the Stars and Stripes for the USOC in the opening ceremonies. Lomong was born in Sudan, where he was one of the lost boy refugees in the civil war. As is often the case with packages involving sports footage, ABC decided not to invoke copyright fair use and did not make the videostream available online.

Also in Beijing, NBC offered a preview of Phil LeBeau's CNBC documentary Saving GM on General Motors' prospects for financial survival. In China, things are on the bright side for the Detroit giant. It is the nation's leading seller of automobiles, with Cadillac and Chevrolet popular brands and "Buick is actually hip."


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