The National Broadcasting Company’s (NBC) primetime broadcast of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics over 18 nights was analyzed to determine differences between the network’s treatment of U.S. and non-U.S. Olympians. Consistent with previous findings, an American athlete was the most mentioned athlete, and Americans composed the majority of the Top 20 most mentioned athletes. In contrast to previous findings, American athletes accounted for only 38.68% of the mentions, the lowest amount recorded since studies began with the 1996 Games. In addition, a sport-by-sport analysis revealed that an American was the most mentioned athlete in 8 of the 15 winter sports, and Americans received more mentions in 4 winter sports. Regarding descriptions ascribed to the Olympians, American athletes were more likely to be portrayed as succeeding due to superior concentration, composure, and commitment, while non-Americans were more likely to be portrayed as failing due to a lack of concentration, strength, and ability. Non-Americans were also more likely to be described as modest/introverted. Contextualization of these findings is provided.
Paul J. MacArthur and Lauren Reichart Smith
Andrew C. Billings, Paul J. MacArthur, Simon Licen, and Dan Wu
Media renderings of the Olympics continue to offer opportunities for hypernationalism. This study analyzes the same basketball game (U.S. vs. China in men’s basketball at the 2008 Summer Olympics) through the lens of 4 different telecasts in the United States, China, Slovenia, and Canada. Results illuminate us/them and collectivist/individualist dichotomies, differing themes of redemption and expectation, and stark contrasts in network style and content in game coverage. Ramifications for theory, fans, and network gatekeepers are postulated.
James R. Angelini, Andrew C. Billings, and Paul J. MacArthur
A population of NBC’s primetime coverage of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics (64 hours) was analyzed to determine differences between the media treatment of U.S. and non-U.S. Olympians. Results showed that U.S. athletes were highlighted at three to four times to rate their successes would suggest. In addition, American athletes were more likely to be depicted as succeeding because of their intellect, commitment, and consonance while non-American athletes were more likely to be depicted as failing because they lacked the strength and skill of other athletes. From a personality/physicality standpoint, American athletes received enhanced comments about their outgoing/extroverted nature while non-American athletes received more comments about the size and parts of their bodies. Ramifications for framing theory and Olympic nationalism research are articulated.