20 February 2006

Olympics

It is really interesting to see/hear/read Olympic coverage from Germany.

When I think about Olympic coverage that I recieved in the USA, the impression I got was that the USA was a contender in EVERY sport, or at least every sport worth paying attention to. I got used to hearing about the sports that athletes from the USA excellend in and hearing little or nothing about thost other events. What the heck is a "15km Gunderson" anyway? I got used to the medal reports: "today we have +300 gold medals, +140 silver medals and +14 bronze medals". During "the cold war" it was always tallied against the Soviet Union. "Their medal count, at 867, is 2 higher than ours, but we have 6 more gold!"

Here in Germany, as I would expect, I hear all about the German success in the Olympics. I hear about the gold in the 3-horse schlitterbahn event (OK, I made that one up), the one time I watched on TV, they were showing an event where Germany was winning (and did win the gold) and the USA was something like #17. I hear on the radio that today Germany's only (and very slight) hope for a medal, a bronze at that, is in ski jumping, behind Norway and Austria.

I never did pay much attention to sports events, but it was hard NOT to hear about the olympics. Obviously the reports coming back to the people are of what the people want to hear. Few people in the USA care about an event where Germany upset the Finnish favorite and the best USA athlete came in at #17. But the feeling I always got, and maybe that is my problem and nobody else felt that way, was that the Olympic coverage I got in the USA is really the important stuff and who cares about the rest. This message has been repeated to me for 30+ years, so of course I am surprised (but not really surprised) to find out that people in other countries have different priorities.

I don't even know if the USA has won any medals during this Olympics, and if there are any star/darling athletes from the USA. Who will be on the Wheaties box?

It is just another example of how interesting the media is. No matter how objective you think they are, they really aren't telling you everything. Not always in a nefarious way, because there is just too much to tell. But it just reminds me that there is more out there than what they are telling me and that the slant of the story may be completely different depending on where you are looking from.

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