As you may be aware, in addition to doing TV reviews for Manhattan Digest, I’m also typically called on for live coverage of many of TV’s landmark events, whether it was this winter’s Grammy Awards or Oscars, or the upcoming VMA’s and Emmy Awards.
Looking ahead on the calendar, one of the landmark TV events of this season is the opening and closing ceremonies of this year’s Olympic Games in Sochi. While normally this is the sort of event I would jump on in a heartbeat, recent events in Russia make it difficult for me to be in a celebratory mood.
Recently, the Russian legislature passed some very harsh anti-LGBT laws that essentially codify such relationships as deviant and criminal, and puts a ban on “non-traditional” propaganda in the state. Those who violate this ban are subject to arrest, something that the Russian government has no qualms about enforcing (case in point: the Pussy Riot arrests). This has led to further controversy, as while the IOC is assuring athletes that they will not be arrested, the Russian government has restated that this law will apply to even visiting athletes. Further complicating matters, Olympic broadcaster NBC is not entirely sure how to approach this issue as part of their coverage, leaving a pretty realistic chance that the issue is completely whitewashed out of their coverage, even if events dictate otherwise (it’s not like the network had the most sterling of reputations for their coverage after the much less controversial London games either).
It’s safe to say that we here at Manhattan Digest have a more enlightened approach towards such issues, and I feel like this situation lacks easy answers. Do I just ignore the whole situation, essentially using my silence like a de facto boycott like Harvey Fierstein advocated in the New York Times recently? Or will there still be extensive demand for normal coverage? Conversely, do I ignore the celebration aspect and take a more strictly journalistic tack, in which should something controversial or breaking happen that myself (or one of our writers) comment upon it? My gut feeling says to lean against scrubbing and sanitizing coverage, but I’d rather not blow off a large event if our readership demands/requests it.
Ultimately, I think it’s best that I get the input of not only Ryan, our editor-in-chief, but also that of our readers. Manhattan Digest is a site heavily driven by crowd sourcing, and I feel that in situations like this one it’s my responsibility to cater to the interests of our readers first and foremost. If you have a preference or a suggestion, please do not hesitate to comment below.
Thank you for your time and consideration,