Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

An Apology for Unpleasant Truths

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

An Apology for Unpleasant Truths

Article excerpt

How wonderful of NBC to save America's honor by apologizing to China for remarks made during the Olympic Games in Atlanta that were critical of that nation's human rights record. A network sports vice president, Ed Markey, in response to China's Foreign Ministry protests regarding commentary by broadcaster Bob Costas, claimed, "We wanted to make it clear that we didn't want to hurt their feelings."

Not that China's record on human rights hasn't hurt the feelings, and bodies, of millions of its own citizens. Why, NBC executives must have surmised, should such details be brought up during sporting events? Aren't games more important than people being tortured and killed? Unpleasant facts have their place, but not on our network.

After all, who owns NBC? General Electric Co. does, and GE does enormous business with China. Wouldn't want to hurt any feelings there! It might jeopardize the hundreds of millions of dollars the business superpower has invested in China. Its money is in medical equipment, plas tics and, of course lighting. The U.S. company is also a major supplier of locomotives and power generation machinery to the Asian giant.

We all remember the sincerely uttered phrase, "If it's good for General Motors it's good for America" a phrase that GE seems willing to adapt for itself.

Here are the supremely offensive words of which Costas is guilty: "Every economic power including the United States wants to tap into the huge potential market, but of course there are problems with human rights, property rights disputes, the threat posed to Taiwan."

How vicious can Costas be? The fact that his words were true has little relevance. They might injure feelings.

According to the World Human Rights Guide published by The Economist of London, China earns a human rights rating of 23 percent. That's just above Libya and Iraq and well below Paraguay (48 percent), India (60 percent) and Brazil (73 percent). Out of sight on the same chart are Denmark, Finland, Sweden (all at 98 percent) as a well as Belgium (96 percent), the United States (90 percent) and Japan (88). …

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