“The Olympic spirit is a bit dampened this year. The delay from last year and lack of spectators have taken the edge off the typical anticipation and excitement for this event,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
The “emergence” of political issues and concerns in the Tokyo Games has played a part in the transformation.
Yes, there is a poll. It found that 36% of Americans overall say they have less interest in this year’s Olympics compared with past games. Of this group, a third cited reasons released to the COVID-19 pandemic while 34% “point to politics.” The remainder give a variety of reasons for having less interest this year.
“The pandemic-related responses divide into two groups: those who question the wisdom of holding the Olympics while the coronavirus is still active and those who feel changes made to the Games because of the pandemic have made it less compelling. The political reasons are almost entirely people upset with athletes using the platform to express political views. Not surprisingly, among those less interested in the Olympics this year, just over half of Democrats (51%) point to Covid as the reason for their lack of interest while just over half of Republicans (51%) cite politics,” the poll analysis said.
THEY’RE JUST NOT WATCHING
Broadcast coverage of the Olympics has evolved over the decades. Consider that CBS secured the rights to broadcast the Rome Olympics in 1960 for $500,000 rather than the current $1.5 billion price tag. There were three announcers and a “skeleton crew” who ran the operations out of a single trailer — and no play-by-play events whatsoever, according to a historic account in Entertainment Weekly published this week.
“It couldn’t be more different from the grandiosity of Olympics coverage today,” David Maraniss — author of the 2008 book “Rome 1960” — told the news organization.
In the meantime, the monumental, intricately packaged coverage of the 2021 Summer Olympics — however well-intentioned — is flagging in the ratings. Those ratings are “down significantly,” noted a handy Los Angeles Times analysis of Nielsen numbers released Wednesday.
“The first night of competition on Saturday averaged 15.9 million viewers, down 32% from the comparable night of the Rio Summer Games in 2016. NBC’s audience rose to 20 million viewers on Sunday, which was down 36% compared to five years ago. Monday’s competition scored 16.8 million viewers, off 46% from the 31.5 million who watched on a comparable night in 2016,” the analysis advised.
MICHAEL SAVAGE HAS A SAY
Veteran talk radio host Michael Savage continues to voice concerns about open borders, “runaway” migrants and other byproducts of the evolving U.S. immigration policies. He does not hold back, concerned that thousands of undocumented visitors are arriving in the U.S. at the moment.
“We’re being invaded right now. From the south, from the north, from the east and from the west. You might say, ‘Well, that’s the way of things. And you might as well get used to it. They’re here,’” Mr. Savage says in a new national podcast featured on NewsMax.com.
“But we must also ask why are liberals so quick to embrace this invasion and why a traditionalist and conservative like myself is so resistant to erasing the borders, language and culture of this great nation. Why? The answer is clear,” he continued.
“It is because I love America the way it was founded and the way it has developed right up to recent times; a decent hardworking country and its people. If you agree with me, well, never be ashamed to admit it,” Mr. Savage advised.
TUCKER IN TEXAS
Some programming of note for Thursday, which finds Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson in definite boots-on-the-ground mode — all part of “The Illegal Invasion,” his exclusive series on Fox Nation.
Mr. Carlson and his production team journey to Uvalde, Texas, to investigate the fallout from the Biden administration’s open border policies that have “provoked a massive, unprecedented wave of illegal immigration into the United States,” according to an advance advisory shared with Inside the Beltway.
“The episode will detail the effects of the crisis, which has reached a tipping point in the small South Texas town where there are no longer enough hospital beds for American citizens, routine car chases through downtown, and ranchers routinely find the bodies of dead migrants in their fields,” the advisory said.
Fox Nation is the streaming, on-demand digital platform of Fox News; find the details at FoxNation.com.
‘THE WOLVES OF HELMAND’
The OSS Society is a significant nonprofit that honors those who served in the Office of Strategic Services, the World War II predecessor of the CIA. On Thursday, the organization presents its fifth installment of an online conversational series featuring members of the Intelligence Community and Special Operations forces.
On hand: retired U.S. Army general and former CIA Director David Petraeus plus former U.S. Marine and combat vet Frank “Gus” Biggio who was deployed to Afghanistan and shared his experiences in a new war memoir titled “The Wolves of Helmand: A View from Inside the Den of Modern War.”
The 90-minute conversation begins at 6 p.m. Eastern; there is a $15 fee. A portion of the proceeds will go to the National Museum of Intelligence and Special Operations, a project of the aforementioned society.
Find details at OSSSociety.org; check under “Latest News.”
POLL DU JOUR
• 46% of U.S. adults say athletes at the Summer Olympic Games should not be permitted to “publicly engage in protests, such as displaying political messaging in signs or armbands, kneeling, disrupting medal ceremonies or making political hand gestures.”
• 74% of Republicans, 53% of independents and 23% of Democrats agree.
• 33% overall say the athletes should be allowed to publicly engage in such protests; 13% of Republicans, 28% of independents and 57% of Democrats agree.
• 21% overall are not sure; 13% of Republicans, 19% of independents and 20% of Democrats agree.
Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted July 24-27.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.