Joshua Cooper Ramo was hired by NBC to bring “historical context” to their Olympics coverage. Ramo is co-CEO at Kissinger Associates — yes, that Kissinger — and therefore should know what he’s talking about.
Unfortunately for NBC, Ramo displayed a shocking ignorance of Korean history and got the entire nation of South Korea enraged at some of his comments.
During the live broadcast of Friday’s opening ceremony, Joshua Cooper Ramo, a commentator for the U.S. broadcaster’s coverage of the Olympics, said, “Now representing Japan, a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945. But every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural and technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.”
His incorrect and insensitive comment about Korea’s history has enraged many of its people.
Tens of thousands of Koreans and non-Koreans alike have criticized Ramo and NBC Sports on their social media, urging them to correct this misinformation and apologize.
“Your comments about Korea are absolutely rubbish. After decades of human rights violations, exploiting our resources, and attempts to destroy our heritage, Japan is nowhere close to being thanked, but absolutely despised,” one person wrote on NBC News Facebook.
The petition didn’t even mention the hundreds of thousands of Korean “comfort women” that Japanese troops raped continuously for five years.
I’d love to know what NBC is paying Ramo. I’d have been much more intelligent and accurate while doing the job for half as much. Most importantly, I wouldn’t have made an embarrassing fool of myself.
NBC paid a billion dollars plus for the rights to broadcast the games and on the very first day of coverage they were forced to apologize.
NBC issued an apology a few hours later. In a statement read live on NBCSN early Saturday morning, anchor Carolyn Manno said:
“During our coverage of the Parade of Nations on Friday we said it was notable that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the trip to Korea for the Olympics, “representing Japan, a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945 but every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.” We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments and we apologize.”
The apology, plus the fawning, gushy coverage of the attendance of Kim Jong-un’s sister, has already made the network’s coverage of the games a spectacular failure.