As Beijing celebrates the one-year count down to the 2008 Olympic Games, American television, such as America’s No.1 morning show, the Today show on NBC, is getting excited, too.
This morning, live scenes from the count down ceremony at the Tiananmen Square cut into Today’s regular programming from time to time. NBC correspondent Mark Mullen reported live from the square, making NBC the only western broadcaster to cover the event live, according to NBC producer Adrienne Mong’s blog.
Meanwhile, the show aired a series this week called "China Rising," with Today’s star Meredith Vieira reporting from Beijing on the changes taking place in the ancient city and the whole country’s ardent preparation for the big game.
Like many other overseas media institutions, the NBC depicts this Olympics as the “defining moment” for China in the 21st century, a sign of a “new China,” a chance for the country to increase its international prestige and demonstrate to the world that “China belongs to the 21st century.”
During Ms. Vieira’s trip to Beijing, it’s also noticeable that as a foreign journalist, she was allowed to access the construction site of the main stadium and interview Chinese Olympic athletes face-to-face during their practice at the National Olympic training center. She was even able to face a television camera right in the middle of the crowds on Tiananmen Square, something could have got her into trouble with Chinese authorities if done at a different time.
“There is still no freedom of press in China,” Ms. Vieira said on the square, but the Chinese government has loosened its control on foreign journalists' coverage of the Olympics.
NBC also mentioned a few hard challenges facing the Chinese government in hosting the big game, such as heavy pollution in Beijing. Mr. Mullen said he “would not be surprised” if factories in the city were ordered to be shut down during the game.
Today in Beijing