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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Does Media Bias Hurt Team USA’s Olympic Shooters?

On Friday, Bloomberg News reported on the difficulty Team USA’s shooters have in acquiring major sponsors. Although the feature alluded to similar sports with lower-visibility outside of the Olympics, the headline painted Team USA’s shooters as pariahs: “Olympics Sponsors Want Nothing to Do With Team USA Shooters.”

Or handball, table tennis, archery, sailing and race walking. Peter Carlisle of Octagon Worldwide told Bloomberg, “The biggest challenge is limited exposure.” However, Bloomberg claimed Team USA’s dedicated—and highly successful—shooters were stigmatized by what it called the “rise in gun violence and mass shootings.” 

If there is any truth to that claim, the media, like Bloomberg (himself no friend of gun rights), share the blame for linking all shooting to violent crime. Case in point: After Team USA’s Kim Rhode won a shooting medal at her unprecedented fifth-straight Olympics, CNN’s Piers Morgan asked her about the Aurora mass shooting. Yet has CNN ever asked NASCAR champions about drunk drivers?