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Why It's a Good Thing We're Fighting Over Coverage of Kim Jong Un's Sister

The Olympics—and nation-states—are less important than ever to our lives and geopolitics.

Anke Waelischmiller/SVEN SIMON/picture alliance / SvenSimon/NewscomAnke Waelischmiller/SVEN SIMON/picture alliance / SvenSimon/Newscom"North Korea has emerged as the early favorite to grab one of the Winter Olympics' most important medals: the diplomatic gold." So declared Reuters after the Winter Olympics' opening ceremony, during which Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, waved a lot while seated behind U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. "Without a word, only flashing smiles, Kim Jong-un's sister outflanked Vice President Mike Pence in diplomacy," tweeted The New York Times.

It was younger media outlets and personalities such as Buzzfeed and CNN's Jake Tapper that called bullshit on such stories. Buzzfeed insisted Kim Yo Jong was "a garbage monster" and asked, "What the hell is wrong with you people?" Tapper tweeted, "If you hate US leaders more than you hate the Kim Jong-un regime, you really need to read up on North Korea" and supplied a link to Human Rights Watch's analysis of North Korea.

Fox News contributor Stephen Miller (not THAT Stephen Miller) tweeted:

At the New York Post, Bethany Mandel laid into what she called "the perverse fawning over brutal Kim Jong Un's sister at the Olympics" even as NBC fired opening-cermonies analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo for having himself fawned over the Japanese economy during the Games' first big night. "Ramo said that 'every Korean' respected Japan for their recent achievements as a nation, insinuating that South Korea had forgotten about the 35 brutal years of Japanese rule that ended after World War II," said The Hollywood Reporter, which incensed South Korean residents and officials. NBC failed to catch the gaffe before Ramo's comments aired 14 hours later on tape delay in the U.S. and announced that "it was 'grateful' Pyeongchang's organizing committee accepted its apology."

And so it goes. This sort of side drama, which doesn't involve anything about sports, is what the Olympics has always done best. We should never forget that the modern Games were explicitly created as a showcase for nationalism, not individual achievement. That's why athletes compete for their countries of birth (or, increasingly, whatever country gives them the best chance of getting to compete). As journalism professor and historian Michael J. Socolow reminded Reason readers just a few days ago, "Sports, and sport broadcasting, can never be apolitical when nations are going head-to-head on the field of play." Indeed, the French aristocrat who restarted the Games in the late 19th century, Pierre de Coubertin, "figured his country could better avenge its ass-whupping in the Franco-Prussian War on playing fields rather than battlefields." Which leads to statements such as this one:

The good news in all of this? Overall viewership for the Olympics is in decline. At least in the United States, we seem to care less and less about nationalist spectacles, at least when they appear outside of our nation's borders.

Deadline reports:

Garnering a 13.8 in metered market results for Saturday's primetime coverage of the official Day 1 of the XXIII Winter Olympics, the network was down just over 9% from the first day of Sochi just over four years ago. That February 8, 2014 night of tape-delayed coverage was even with the first official day of the Vancouver Winter Olympics back in 2010.

With the overall viewership numbers just in, last night's Day 1 coverage on NBC snared an audience of 21.4 million from 8 – 11:10 PM ET. That's down 15% from what the first day of Sochi delivered four years ago and a drop of 20% from the first official day of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

The trend for Olympics viewership, both winter and summer is clearly down. There are many reasons why we care less and less about the Olympics (I list some of them here), but I'd argue that the best and most important one is that, even after 9/11 and with all the current trouble in the world, we live in a much-better and less-nationalistic world. Athletic competitions, even ostensibly stupid ones (we miss you, ski ballet!), are often thrilling and over the years, the Olympics generated fantastic narratives of triumph-over-adversity like nothing else (read about U.S. hammer throw champ Hal Connolly and Soviet discus gold medalist Olga Fikotová; there are hundreds of such stories). But we've all got a lot more going on in our lives these days and, really, who cares about avenging the Franco-Prussian War or the Cold War? The planet is more at peace than it used to be and while it's easy (and right) to be angered by powder-puff coverage of a murderous dictator's sister, that sort of outrage, like global poverty, is in blessedly steep decline.

Related: "5 Cities that Got F*cked by Hosting the Olympics"

Photo Credit: Anke Waelischmiller/SVEN SIMON/picture alliance / SvenSimon/Newscom

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  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    There are many reasons why we care less and less about the Olympics

    Maybe it's because the new season of The Walking Dead aired that night.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    That show is still shambling along?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Anecdotally, the only effect the current Olympiad has had on my life is i got copied on a bunch of emails from coworkers wondering what the fuck "ice dancing" is supposed to be.

  • Rockabilly||

    It's like Flash Dance but on ice.

    Like this

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69khy9fxVuI

  • Ken Shultz||

    The Olympics showcase American entrepreneurs finding and training talent without any help from government or the taxpayers--and still kicking the shit out of socialist and authoritarian states, who fund and train their athletes through government bureaucracies.

    Tony Hawk found Shaun White at a skate park when he was ten years old. X-Games sponsors built a half-pipe in White's backyard. White proved pivotal in popularizing snowboarding--he's generated billions in profits for ski resorts, airlines, snowboard manufacturers, et. al. . . . and he's been destroying government sponsored competition in other countries for decades--because government sponsored programs can't find and train athletes better than Americans with the discretionary income to spend on their kids' hobbies and the entrepreneurs who want to sell them snowboards.

    When you see Americans compete and win with little or nothing in the way of government support--and they're going up against the likes of Russia, China, and other government sponsored programs--try to find a little enthusiasm for American consumer capitalism. Free markets and corporate sponsorship outperform government programs and the bureaucracies that run them at the Olympics, as well as everywhere else, and if my fellow Americans embrace that kind of patriotism at the Olympics, the kind that celebrates American competitiveness through capitalism, well, this libertarian doesn't see that as a bad thing.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Because in sports, just like in politics, spending the most money makes you the best.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Is that supposed to be ironic, sarcastic . . .?

    Are you agreeing with me?

    The profit motive certainly isn't about spending the most money, and the entrepreneurs are making profits by identifying and training athletes.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Just trying to figure out why you're saying that capitalism makes people better* at sports.

    *If capitalism really is making US athletes the best, why aren't they brining home every medal for the games?

  • Ken Shultz||

    If the Eagles were better than the Patriots, then wouldn't have let the Patriots score a single touchdown?

    This is silly.

    Yeah, the North Koreans are able to feed some of their people sometimes--even so, I think capitalism has outperformed North Korea's Stalinist system.

    . . . even if the North Koreans are able to make a nuke and an ICBM.

    If one system is better than another, then the other system shouldn't be able to ever do anything right--is that what you're suggesting?

    I'm suggesting that our system outperforms theirs--or is even competitive with theirs--not only without our government really trying but also because our government isn't really trying.

    There's this thing called the invisible hand, and it outperforms government programs--even in the Olympics. That doesn't mean there will never be a Nadia Comaneci.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    That doesn't mean there will never be a Nadia Comaneci.

    Because athletic ability has nothing to do with national economics and you really ought to stop trying to make it so.

    If the Eagles were better than the Patriots, then wouldn't have let the Patriots score a single touchdown?

    This analogy isn't even the same thing. For every Olympic event there are three top positions. There are also several competitors from most countries. If capitalism means American competitors will be better, then they should win the majority of medals for every event unless there is only one competitor who should get gold.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Because athletic ability has nothing to do with national economics and you really ought to stop trying to make it so.

    You don't think training, innovation, and identifying talent has anything to do with government interference?

    Why would athletics be so different from everything else?

    Do you imagine the auto industry is no different than it would be without government interference?

    What about schools? Because a good teacher might show up in a public school in spite of government interference, you think that means schools would be just as bad if they weren't run for the benefit of the teachers' unions and bureaucrats but rather for the benefit of the students?

    Yes, free markets and the profit motive have an enormous impact on how things are managed, who manages them, how talent is identified, how talent is trained, and how well talent performs. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous--and American athletes being competitive in all these sports for all these years despite the lack of government funding and interference proves it.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    That's why they came in 33rd, 58th, and 65th in the men's biathlon.

    Between 1880-1920* all real contributions to science came out of Germany. Clearly whatever economic policy existed in Germany at that time is what is required for those types of scientific breakthroughs to continue.

    *yes, I know it's an estimate

  • gormadoc||

    Heaviside, the Curies, Gibbs, Bragg, Rutherford, Pavlov, and Golgi are non-German scientists active at the time who achieved a great deal for science.

    The fact that Germans were dominant in early modern physics (and not in other fields) is because other large European countries were in significant decline (small countries were still doing well in research) and the US university system was still maturing. Remember that physics is very expensive when compared to other disciplines and most governments didn't have as much money at their disposal as Germany.

    Also consider that much of the German contribution at the time was wrong, culminating in the conflict between "German" and "Jewish" physics.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Despite the ostensible advantages, I see little evidence Americans are substantially better than Russians in recent Olympics.

    I see plenty of evidence that the Norwegians are better than the Americans. Pound-for-pound, Norwegians (and Canadians, and others) humiliate Americans.

    Must be the Norwegians' (and Canadians') superior political and economic system?

  • Ken Shultz||

    I've already responded to this elsewhere, but if you want to argue that Canada's Norway's economic systems might help explain their dominance, there's data to support that.

    In the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom, the U.S. came in 18th.

    Canada came in 9th and Norway came in 23rd.

    Their 23rd makes it seem like they're way behind us, but their score of 74.3 was only slightly lower than our score of 75.7.

    Switzerland came in 4th, Iceland came in 11th, Denmark 12th, and Sweden 15th.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Index_of_Economic_Freedom

  • Mark22||

    Canada came in 9th and Norway came in 23rd. Switzerland came in 4th, Iceland came in 11th, Denmark 12th, and Sweden 15th.

    The Economic Freedom Index is a composite score with dubious components and methodology. For example, "fiscal health" is a big component of the differences, but it's unclear how that is related to "economic freedom". "Government integrity" involves such factors as "public trust in politicians" and "perceptions of corruption"; arguably, it measures how gullible citizens are, not how much integrity the government has. And that's only the top-level problems with the index; when you drill down, the score components, weights, and sources are highly dubious.

    I've lived in several of the countries that supposedly rank higher than the US in the EFI, and I would rank all of them below the US.

    EFI may be useful for coarse distinctions, maybe down to the quintile level; beyond that, it's useless.

  • jelabarre||

    I see plenty of evidence that the Norwegians are better than the Americans. Pound-for-pound, Norwegians (and Canadians, and others) humiliate Americans.

    Must be the Norwegians' (and Canadians') superior political and economic system?

    I don't know, I thought it was because those countries have more winter weather, and longer winter seasons, so they tend to play winter sports more?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "If capitalism means American competitors will be better, then they should win the majority of medals for every event unless there is only one competitor who should get gold."

    The Americans aren't the only capitalist country in the world, and there are other advantages that other countries have in particular sports.

    Countries with a lot of winter tend to do better in winter sports. Our best athletes aren't generally drawn to hockey, curling, or ski jumping, but in Canada and Norway, that's what people are into. A great ski jumper can probably get a lot of sponsorship in Norway, and while most Americans can hardly name a single player on their hometown's NHL team, in Canada the average kid in Toronto can probably name the Leafs' starting goalie as well as every player on the first and second line.

    Hong Kong is very capitalist, but they're not very competitive against Canada in hockey or Norway in cross country skiing. The U.S. is more competitive in hockey than Norway but less competitive than Canada.

    Still, being in a capitalist country gives countries like the U.S. a huge advantage. Why is it hard to believe that entrepreneurs are better at identifying and developing talent than government bureaucrats? What, do you work for the government or something?

  • Mark22||

    If capitalism means American competitors will be better, then they should win the majority of medals for every event unless there is only one competitor who should get gold.

    Why the hell would capitalism result in more gold medals? Competing in the Olympics is an economically irrational and foolish endeavor, with high risk and a lousy return on investment.

    I expect a libertarian, free market society would produce next to no Olympic winners because people have better things to do.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Nick's point seems to be that people aren't embracing that kind of patriotism, as the viewership numbers for the Failing Winter Olympics are trending further downward every cycle. Sad!

  • Rhywun||

    Meh. I think it just means that people have a thousand other things to watch instead of 3 or 4 like back in the day.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It may also be about the time difference.

    When things were live from Vancouver, it was different.

    Play the Superbowl on delay from Manchukuo in prime time, and ratings will fall. Do so repeatedly over four year cycles, and people will really start to lose interest.

    The reason the NFL has been so profitable is because people want to watch sporting events live. It ain't like Game of Thrones. The Olympics are like that, too--or they would be.

  • jelabarre||

    Meh. I think it just means that people have a thousand other things to watch instead of 3 or 4 like back in the day.

    Yeah, I would sum up watching sports (including the Olympics) as a variation of what Konata Izumi says in Lucky Star: "If I join a team, I'll miss my prime time anime."

  • Ken Shultz||

    I do not believe Gillespie is bemoaning the decline of patriotic capitalism.

    I think he is celebrating the decline of nationalism.

  • ||

    I do not believe Gillespie is bemoaning the decline of patriotic capitalism.

    I think he is celebrating the decline of nationalism.

    This would be a lot easier to believe if Nick didn't, not infrequently, bemoan capitalism because it's being practiced by some particular flavor of deplorable.

  • Agammamon||

    without any help from government or the taxpayers

    Let's not forget the massive subsidies from the taxpayers to build the facilities and the special exemptions the Olympics get from local laws and codes. All of which are necessary for 'Team USA' to have any relevance - and what allows those winners to get their endorsement money.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Do you have a link to these subsidies you're talking about?

    Are you talking about facilities that were built back in the 1980s by local government?

    The athletes and their training are almost entirely self-funded. Each sport within the American Olympic federation acts like an entrepreneur. They use the funds they get to finance training if they want, build their own training facilities if they want, etc. The funds they receive come from sponsorship deals and go, especially, all the way back to when Los Angeles hosted the games in the 1980s. Those LA Games were incredibly inexpensive and incredibly profitable. The American Olympic committee split those proceeds up among the various sporting bodies to invest as they pleased to promote their sport and find and train athletes, and those sports have been living on those proceeds and sponsorship deals ever since.

    Tanya Harding's outfits were so cheesy because she had to make them herself, and nothing much has changed since. Financing for athletes is driven by parents, the athletes working themselves, and corporate sponsorship.

    . . . regardless of whether the taxpayers built something in Lake Placid circa 1979.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Sounds like a problem for the city of Colorado Springs, and if the people who live there don't like that, then they should vote for a city council that says "no".

    Still, that's not like a team that's being funded and managed by the U.S. government.

    And we should beware the "You didn't build that" fallacy. The U.S. Olympic committee also uses public schools to train its staff and they use public roads (Muh Roadz!).

    Still, lots of athletes don't even train in Colorado Springs, and even for the ones who do, the money they get for their training comes from parents, the athletes supporting themselves, and sponsorship deals rather than from the federal government.

  • Ken Shultz||

    We should also beware of the "You didn't build that" fallacy.

  • dantheserene||

    That is an interesting perspective. Tony Hawk has probably been personally responsible for the creation of more wealth in his lifetime an a number of governments manage in a year.

  • Necron 99||

    Governments don't create wealth.

  • GeneralWeygand||

    Very well said despite what assholes may attempt to snipe at you about in their replies.

  • Kivlor||

    Probably a little premature to declare the death of nationalism Nick. I know you can't wait to hand over rule of this nation, and all nations, to some international oligarchy but that doesn't seem to be the direction we're heading. The Olympics were associated with nationalism more heavily when the US actually had rivals (ie Soviet Union). And now, without any rival, there is little reason to associate them with nationalism/patriotism.

    It's more likely that viewership of the Olympics is taking a downward spiral for the same reasons that almost all sports are doing the same in the US. 12 million more people watched baseball in 1973 than do today, despite the population having grown 110 million in that time.

  • damikesc||

    I love that Nick thinks that handing over control to non-accountable entities will be good for freedom. Because the EU has been nothing but a God-send for the cause of European freedoms...

  • Hugh Akston||

    Where did Nick say that the alternative to nationalism is being ruled by an (((international oligarchy)))? Where did he say anything about being ruled by anyone?

  • Agammamon||

    It would seem to me that the move to an EU style world-state would the the ultimate expression of nationalism - on a global scale. So yeah, I don't see Nick saying that's what he wants.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    You have to have the special glasses that allow to see the "real" articles.

    Here, Put these on.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Not this year.

  • ||

    It's more likely that viewership of the Olympics is taking a downward spiral for the same reasons that almost all sports are doing the same in the US. 12 million more people watched baseball in 1973 than do today, despite the population having grown 110 million in that time.

    Yeah, Nick's a bit ideological in his selective extrapolation. Kids are less involved in all manner of activity, not just sports, but Nationalism is kinda-sorta collapsing in this country. Before you know it a real violent and oppressive dictator will rear his ugly head and we'll all be between to sedentary, apathetic, and kowtowed to care.

  • Kivlor||

    We are witnessing the rebirth of nationalism. It's just that Reason absolutely hates any sort of "My nation, my people come first" attitude, so they bemoan it at every turn, and much like the Hillary Campaign, we see the same folks crying out that it is inevitable. They were wrong then. They are wrong now.

    If anything, I think that your proposal that the Republic will inevitably fail and lead to a dictator rising to power will actually coincide with an outgrowth of nationalism.

  • chemjeff||

    "I know you can't wait to hand over rule of this nation, and all nations, to some international oligarchy"

    citation needed

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I got your citation right (((here)))

  • Tony||

    I'm about over Nick's sourpuss bitching about everything. The Olympics, flawed as they may be, are a damn near miraculous spectacle of the international community, including some major adversaries, cooperating on something.

    Mike Pence being made to look like the grandstanding meatheaded asshole he is by both a dictator's sister and a homosexual figure skater is just a bonus.

  • damikesc||

    Tell me more about how wrong Trump was to say that both sides were wrong in Charlottesville with this post in mind.

    And, you know, if that skater wants to be known as more than just a "gay athlete", he's doing it wrong. Especially since he's wrong on what he thinks Pence believed and refuses to be informed.

  • Tony||

    So Mike Pence doesn't owe his national political career to being the most ostentatiously anti-gay governor in the country? Didn't support gay conversion therapy?

  • damikesc||

    So Mike Pence doesn't owe his national political career to being the most ostentatiously anti-gay governor in the country? Didn't support gay conversion therapy?

    No and no.

    He supported legislation to insure funding for people who wish to change their sexual behaviro to avoid AIDS. In most circles, that is called, you know, sex education.

    To Progs, it's "he wants to electro-shock the gays", in spite of him literally never once advocating it.

    So, you're wrong.

    Twice.

    I doubt this will change your mind, though.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    If there's one thing I can't stand, it's sourpuss bitching.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    "Ramo said that 'every Korean' respected Japan for their recent achievements as a nation, insinuating that South Korea had forgotten about the 35 brutal years of Japanese rule that ended after World War II," said The Hollywood Reporter, which incensed South Korean residents and officials.

    That may have been what Ramo meant to say, but what he actually said was "[Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ] representing Japan, a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945 but every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation." Which lacking any reference to "recent" made it sound like Koreans were thankful for the military occupation itself.

    Not surprisingly that proved controversial.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    "Ramo said that 'every Korean' respected Japan for their recent achievements as a nation, insinuating that South Korea had forgotten about the 35 brutal years of Japanese rule that ended after World War II," said The Hollywood Reporter, which incensed South Korean residents and officials.

    Ramo is utterly ignorant of how Koreans think about the Japanese. The 2002 Korea/Japan co-sponsorship of the World Cup was a major diplomatic event, but it didn't fully reconcile the Korean people with the Japanese.

    Before that, you know what Koreans called Hiroshima and Nagasaki? A good start.

    A favorite drink in Korea is what they call an atomic bomb -- a shot of soju dropped in a mug of beer. There's also a more potent version called a hydrogen bomb -- a shot of beer dropped in a mug of soju.

  • mtrueman||

    "Before that, you know what Koreans called Hiroshima and Nagasaki?"

    Some Koreans get along quite well with the Japanese. The previous president, for example, and many others of the right, particularly from the eastern side of the country. Her father was educated in Japan and served as an officer in the Japanese army, I believe. She was widely criticized for her treatment of the comfort woman issue, that people saw as favoring Japan at the expense of Korean victims.

  • Brandybuck||

    I'm not a huge fan of Mike Pence, but if I were there I would not stand either. All those people whining on Facebook that he embarrassed the US by not standing are getting defriended.

    Want me to stand? Have her apologize.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Have who apologize for what?

  • gormadoc||

    I assume Warmbier's torture. But there's a lot of things they could be apologizing for. The only incident I know of in which NK accepted any responsibility (and still didn't apologize) was the axe murder.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I haven't seen any whining. More amused posts pointing out the Irony of Pence suddenly discovering the benefits of sitting down to protest things at sporting events.

  • Tony||

    Yes but play the US national anthem and he'll be standing at attention in every which way.

  • damikesc||

    Hell, I have zero reason to believe he vandalized anything. His own roommate on that trip said it would be very odd for him to have done it.

    North Korea tortured him for shits and giggles. But, hey, the fat dunce's sister gave Pence evil eyes, so swoon!

    ...that is why so many in the country fucking hate the media. When fucking Buzzfeed has more sense on this than CNN, you have a problem. Where will CNN go to retrieve their credibility?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I gave up watching when 1/3 of the tim was commercials, 1/3 was weepy background biodramettes, and the 1/3 that was actual sports was the US entrants, regardless of how far back in the pack they were.

    If it's changed (I doubt it), sorry, too late. I have four shelves of books to read, and it's easier to read continuously without short interruptions every ten minutes to catch a glimpse of an actual sporting event.

  • Mickey Rat||

    If want to watch, check out the NBCSN feed. It tends to show more complete events and matches and does not do nwarly as much of the "human interest" docudramas, thougn thete seems to be some creep on that.

  • μ Aggressor||

    I know this old but agreed. Broadcast NBC coverage is a fucking shit show. I kept wondering where the actual olympics were; then finally figured out you have to goto their weird secondary and tertiary streams to actually see any sporting

  • μ Aggressor||

    I know this old but agreed. Broadcast NBC coverage is a fucking shit show. I kept wondering where the actual olympics were; then finally figured out you have to goto their weird secondary and tertiary streams to actually see any sporting

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    It appears North Korea is a deplorable country with a momentarily fetching ambassador, while the United States is an admirable country with a leader who is deplorable (and is supported by our electorate's deplorable, lesser elements).

  • Sevo||

    Dunno, but he brought his case of TDS with him.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Are you the guy who applauds the half-educated, bigoted, superstitious, economically inadequate, easily frightened, stale-thinking, authoritarian losers who inhabit our can't-keep-up backwaters after generations of bright flight (all of the smart, ambitious young people flee at high school graduation, never to return to the sticks or the hicks, leaving behind a depleted, disaffected human residue)?

    Great to meet you, goober.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, a self-righteous piece of shit.
    Thanks for clearing that up, and happy to meet you, asshole.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Self righteous douchebag who's not particularly original, not original at all really,

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The reason stale-thinking conservative goobers like you call people like me "elite" is that at some level even you recognize that you are the lessers of our society.

    Welcome to the reality-based world, in which disaffected third-shift desktop support techs possess as much influence in our society as they deserve, and society continues to progress despite their preferences and intertubes comments.

  • Paper Wasp||

    I find your ability to type and smoke your own cock at the same time fascinating.

  • JoeBlow123||

    Daammmnn. You are a libertarian? That sounded like a ringing endorsement for oligarchy.

  • gormadoc||

    No, he's a regular troll over at Volokh. He's been around there for awhile and is the only downside to Volokh coming here.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Perhaps we started off on the wrong foot. Let's start over.

    I think the garish libertarian drag outfits in which sheepish, authoritarian, backward right-wingers prance about in reason.com's comments are adorable. Unconvincing, but adorable. Deploradorable, even.

    Carry on, clingers. Maybe with a bit more faux libertarianism.

  • Sevo||

    "North Korea has emerged as the early favorite to grab one of the Winter Olympics' most important medals: the diplomatic gold." So declared Reuters after the Winter Olympics' opening ceremony, during which Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, waved a lot while seated behind U.S. Vice President Mike Pence."

    This is a regime which has purposely made starvation the only legal option available to most of its population and starved at least one million to death, but we're to be impressed that a member of the ruling clique waved a lot?
    TDS is indeed causing brain-damage.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    It's truly disgusting. It's astonishing how easily people are swayed by even the slightest amount of pleasantries. These are the people who called Eva Braun a fine lady back in the 30s.

  • chemjeff||

    Some of the articles were a little over the top in their effusive praise of the Norks, yeah.
    But some were just straight reporting on the buzz that Kim Yo Jong was creating in the South.
    The anti-media whiners, however, complained about all of it. Okay fine don't say that she "outflanked Mike Pence", that's kinda silly. But should the media also not report how she really is (or appears to be) turning heads in the South with her presence?
    The anti-media whiners don't want balanced media, they want pro-US media.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I'd be fine with that. And I have read some analysis along those lines, here's a relatively interesting piece of on the street reporting.

    There does seem to be a fair amount of pure fawning from many about the NK sister and their state propaganda. It's not uniform, but it's worth commenting on how sadly prevalent it is.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    You are a fucking moron, most people don't want media licking this bitches' boots because they (media) think it is somehow dissing Trump. If you want to bootlick, a mass murderers minister of propaganda is not the best choice. Personally not a Trump fan but I have to laugh seeing how the dude has goaded the media into a state of collective insanity.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Overall viewership for the Olympics is in decline.

    Nobody wants to sit through 55 minutes of human interest stories in the hope of catching 5 minutes of actual competition? Sad.

  • Paper Wasp||

    ^^^This.

    35 out of those 55 minutes will be ads. Also the stories and cameras will be locked on the same "stars", over and over. Yawn. Michael Phelps! More Michael Phelps! Then later, tune in for even more Michael Phelps!

  • ImanAzol||

    If you think the purpose of the Olympics is "Nationalistic," you've missed the entire intent.

  • The Last American Hero||

    USA USA USA USA USA USA

  • TommyInIdaho||

    "If you hate US leaders more than you hate the Kim Jong-un regime, you really need to read up on North Korea" and supplied a link to Human Rights Watch's analysis of North Korea." If you live in a nation where you can change your leaders, albeit between less than thrilling choices (and that includes Gary Johnson), then why hate your leaders at all?

    ""What's the difference between propaganda for tourism - like in the Los Angeles Olympics of 1932 - or for a political regime?"
    -Baron de Coubertin responding to criticism that 1936 Berlin Games were exploited to make Nazis look good

    I'll bet he knew the answer by '38.

  • GamerFromJump||

    One of the few remaining brutal Communist regimes; the media's got to get their obligatory fawning in somehow. It's a tradition going back to Cronkite.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Whoa! So decades after Petr Beckmann quit a Reason board packed with anti-defense cowards eagerly blindered against any hint that 30,000 Soviet fusion bombs cannot be safely ignored, someone in there finally realizes just how brainwashed today's Altrurian Trilbys are by extinct socialist Svengalis. It's a New Dawn!

  • Jima||

    Personally, I watch about the same amount of Olympic competition as ever, but I record it and burn through the endless commercial breaks and witless commentary to watch the actual competition. I'll bet many do the same. I'm guessing the count does a poor job of realizing the actual participation of viewers via all methods. Plus, why the hell is Curling an Olympic sport? Giving some grownups scrub brushes and having them play a giant game of somewhat steerable marbles on ice is a sport? Come on... At least I haven't had to listen to Bob Costas this time. That idiot ruined half the coverage in the last Olympic games. The current main nitwit is little better, but I just FF past his clueless ramblings.

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