Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Deceptions: Harmless Propoganda?


The 2008 Olympics have provided some great theater, and a couple of articles today state that some of that theater was improvised by the Chinese government. Further, the articles state, the government thinks that is just fine.

First, there is the revelation in this CNN article that some of the fireworks seen on television during the impressive opening ceremonies were actually animation.

Then, we find out that the girl who sang "Ode to the Motherland," lip-synched the performance, according to this CNN article. The voice of the girl who actually sang the song was determined not to be photogenic enough for television.

Are these types of deception acceptable for a government? We give the Chinese credit for being upfront and honest that they took these two actions to make for a better broadcast -- although the statements appear to have come after the fact. The government doesn't offer any apologies and, quite frankly, sees no reason why they should.

There are examples throughout history when the U.S. government has decided that putting forth the best images are in the national interest. We tend to cringe when these propoganda methods are revealed, because we believe the public wants, and can handle, the truth.

While these two examples coming from the Olympic games appear to be relatively harmless events, it begs the question, what other kinds of propoganda is the government capable of?

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