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Summon the American Television Heroes: Nationalism in NBC’s Primetime Television Broadcast of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games

Paul J. MacArthur and Lauren Reichart Smith

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.

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Superpowers on the Olympic Basketball Court: The United States Versus China Through Four Nationalistic Lenses

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.

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The Nationalistic Revolution Will Be Televised: The 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games on NBC

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.

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The Thin Line Between Masculinity and Skate: Primetime Narratives of Male Figure Skaters on the CBC and NBC 2014 Winter Olympic Broadcasts

Paul J. MacArthur, James R. Angelini, Andrew C. Billings, and Lauren R. Smith

An empirical analysis was conducted focusing on how the United States-based NBC and the Canada-based CBC portrayed male figure skaters in comparison with their male Winter Olympic counterparts on the networks’ primetime 2014 Olympic broadcasts. Using 100% of all primetime broadcast content as a universe of investigation, NBC’s and the CBC’s commentary about male figure skaters was compared with the aggregate of all other male Winter Olympians in the areas of success, failure and personality/physicality. Analysis of NBC’s primetime coverage of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games revealed five (5) significantly-different dialogue trends between male figure skaters and the aggregate of other male Winter Olympians, while analysis of the CBC’s primetime coverage revealed seven (7) significantly-different dialogue trends between male figure skaters and the aggregate of other male Winter Olympians. Differences were not consistent from network to network, showing that NBC and CBC treated male figure skaters differently, yet in significantly different manners by network. Insights are offered on the theoretical and applied levels.

Une analyse empirique a été conduite pour savoir comment la chaîne américaine NBC et la chaîne canadienne CBC présentaient les patineurs sur glace par rapport à leurs homologues masculins participant aux Jeux Olympiques d’Hiver lors de leurs prime times en 2014. En utilisant 100% du contenu des prime times diffusés comme terrain d’investigation, les commentaires de NBC et de CBC concernant les patineurs sur glace ont été comparés à ceux, agrégés, de tous les autres olympiens masculins dans le domaine de la réussite, de l’échec, de la personnalité et du physique. L’analyse de la couverture des Jeux Olympiques 2014 de Sotchi en prime time sur NBC a révélé cinq types de discours significativement différents entre les patineurs et l’ensemble des autres olympiens alors que l’analyse de la couverture en prime time du CBC en a révélé sept. Les différences ne sont pas similaires d’une chaîne à l’autre, ce qui montre que NBC et CBC ont traité les patineurs sur glace différemment. Des éclairages sont apportés aux niveaux théoriques et appliqués.