It’s media bias: Olympics edition.
Two days ago, U.S. shooter Kim Rhode became the first women to medal in the Olympics that day – and it barely made any headlines. Not only that, she became the first athlete to win a medal at six straight Summer Olympics. And how did the media that chose to report it, end up reporting it? As the Gateway Pundit discovered, NBC reported on it, only to conclude by bashing her. They wrote: Kim Rhode couldn’t lift her infant son, Carter, three years ago.
On Friday, the shooter carried curly-haired Carter while doing TV interviews after she became the first person to win Olympic medals on five continents with a bronze in the skeet.
Rhode set all sorts of Olympic longevity benchmarks.
Rhode is the first athlete to win an individual medal at six straight Summer Olympics. Italian luger Armin Zoeggeler has done so in the Winter Games.
Many would argue that a shooter doing this is far less impressive than, say, a gymnast or a swimmer.
The act of shooting requires fewer physical attributes, extending Olympic lifespans (the oldest Olympic medalist of all time is a shooter; Sweden’s Oscar Swahn collected six medals, all in his 60s and 70s a century ago, and Rhode has done her homework on him).
They might as well have reported: we don’t consider you to be a real athlete, but great job!
And they were hardly the only ones with slanted coverage of her feat. The Guardian focused almost exclusively on her support for Donald Trump, and felt the need to mention a number of mass public shootings in their piece (none of which were carried out by skeet shooters). The LA Times headlined their piece “L.A’s most unsung Olympian continues to excel in her sixth Olympics.”
Heck – a Reddit thread on an anti-Donald Trump subreddit was titled “Trump Supporters Think the Media is Ignoring Kim Rhodes for Supporting the 2nd Amendment. Let’s Get As Many Mainstream News Stories About Her To The Front Page That We Can” – and guess what? Literally the only story that was posted was the NBC story, which was hardly sympathetic.
Unlike other athletes, sponsors are neglecting her as well. As Bloomberg reported: When Team USA’s Kim Rhode won a bronze medal in skeet shooting Friday, she claimed a piece of Olympic history: the 37-year-old Californian became the first woman to take the podium in six straight Olympics.
Landing a big-name sponsor might be the bigger feat. In the year leading up to Rio 2016, Rhode’s agent Patrick Quinn pitched her to around 20 companies that back the Olympics. None were convinced.
“The big mystery is how someone like Kim isn’t part of the Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and the Olympics sponsor push,’’ Quinn said by phone from Chicago.“It would be nice to have an Olympic sponsor recognize the magnitude of her accomplishment.’’
Coca-Cola Co. didn’t respond to a request for comment, and Procter & Gamble Co.’s spokesperson Damon Jones said in an e-mail the company receives hundreds of sponsorship requests so it must be selective. Rhode and other shooters on Team USA think the reason they’re passed over is obvious. The rise in gun violence and mass shootings in the US have attached a stigma to shooting as a sport, they say. So while companies like Winchester, Beretta and Otis Technology support Rhode, she doesn’t have a single sponsor from outside the firearm industry.
Rhode’s only crime? Supporting her Constitutional rights.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]