Are Politics Destroying NBC Olympics Ratings?

There is continued fretting over the viewership of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, yet nobody seems to be asking the obvious question. Is it possible that the infection of politics into the game is driving down viewership in this era when hyper-partisan fighting is at an all-time high? Granted, there are some pressing news items happening right now, but the Olympics don’t happen every year, so why aren’t we watching more of it?

It has been said that when watching the National Football League, Americans united around sports to leave politics out of it. Fans from teams all over the country could tune into a NFL game to watch the athleticism and root for their team, not get a social justice lecture on the perils of being black in America. Well, things changed in 2017, unfortunately, and the NFL ratings suffered because of it.

The 2018 Winter Olympics started off with US figure skater Adam Rippon attacking the Vice President of the United States. The attack was completely unprovoked since there is no man more decent in Washington than Mike Pence, but we’ll set that aside. The dig at Pence involved Pence’s time as Indiana Governor and his support of various legislation involved with religions freedom and/or various discrimination laws.

Of course, Pence handled it in the classiest way possible:

Didn’t matter though, Rippon had made his stand and got his “that a boy” slap on the back from NBC and the media as a whole. In fact, NBC was so thrilled that Rippon attacked the VP that they offered him a job as commentator to finish out the games after his skating was done:

NBC has hired figure skater Adam Rippon to serve as a contributor for the remainder of the Winter Olympics.

Rippon, who has made headlines for his criticism of Vice President Mike Pence, will perform TV work and also contribute to the network’s digital and social media platforms, USA Today reported on Sunday.

One of two openly gay U.S. athletes at the Pyeongchang Games, Rippon criticized the White House last month for choosing Pence to lead its official delegation for the opening ceremony.

Amazingly, after the announcement was made by NBC that they had hired Rippon, the deal fell flat and Rippon announced he chose to decline the offer despite agreeing to it earlier:

My concerns here aren’t even directed at Adam Rippon, but I’m wondering if once again, Americans are just getting sick and tired of watching politics infect every facet of life? It was just a few short years again when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama declared their opposition to gay marriage, yet today they get a pass on the subject while decent men like Mike Pence continue to be attacked.

When Adam Rippon attacks Mike Pence, he’s attacking millions of viewers who are tuning in to watch his amazing skills on the world stage. Nobody asked about his personal life, or his sexuality, but it had to be center stage for his fifteen minutes in the media spotlight.

Rippon wasn’t the only athlete that took shots at the current administration. US skier Lindsey Vonn also spoke her disgust, but this time directly at President Trump:

CNN: “You’ve previously competed at three Olympic Games, under two presidents. How would it feel competing at an Olympic Games for a United States whose president is Donald Trump?”

Vonn: “Well, I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the president…. I take the Olympics very seriously, and what they mean and what they represent. What walking under our flag means at the opening ceremony. I want to represent our country well. I don’t think that there are a lot of people currently in our government that do that.”

Vonn was later asked if she would visit the White House with other Olympians and said, “Absolutely not. No.”

Can you guess which two Olympic stars are being promoted most heavily by NBC? You guessed it, Rippon and Vonn. NBC has a solid history of being anti-Trump and anti-conservative. Just look at their cable “news” channel, msnbc.

What I keep wondering is when are these media people going to wise up and realize that Republicans watch the Olympics, too. In fact, probably much more so than most liberals since conservative-learning Americans are more inclined to root for their country on the world state. In some ways, the Olympics is antithetical to the newfound Obama-esque view of Americans being “citizens of the world.” Millennials today have been taught that America is bad and evil, so why would they ever feel the need to cheer on their country against other countries?

The demographics of Olympic viewership tend to skew older, perhaps hearkening back to the days of USA versus the Soviet Union when the games more directly served as a stand-in for combat during the Cold War. Whatever the case, NBC has a problem and instead of trying to keep politics out of it, they continue to push agendas and promote personalities that are opposed to half of the country.

Corporations used to want to make money, which meant setting politics aside. NBC seems more bent on pushing an agenda, and they’re willing to lose viewers and, subsequently, lose advertising dollars as viewership declines.