November 21, 2022
Themacforums – US Viewers Accuse Fox Sports of ‘Shilling for Qatar’ Amid Glowing World Cup Coverage. Fox Sports has come under fire from US fans after failing to mention the host nation’s human rights record during its broadcast of the World Cup’s opening day.
Qatar has come under fire for handling migrant workers, claims of corruption during the tournament’s bidding process, and history with LGBTQ and women’s rights. In their coverage of the tournament’s first day, where the hosts fell to Ecuador after a spectacular opening ceremony that featured appearances from Morgan Freeman and BTS’s Jungkook, broadcasters like the BBC and Telemundo chose to emphasize those worries.
Contrarily, Fox lavished praise on everything from the Al Bayt Stadium’s air conditioning to the variety of cuisine offered to spectators to Hassan Al-Thawadi, the “extremely hospitable” secretary general of Qatar’s World Cup committee.
Al-Thawadi was then featured in a puff piece where he was given free rein to praise the World Cup without being pressed by interviewer Jenny Taft on the issues raised by media professionals and human rights organizations.
This is how the BBC launched its coverage of the 2022 World Cup, wrote Roger Bennett, a prominent co-host of the Men In Blazers podcast, on his blog. Clearly different from Fox’s coverage in the US. Please watch for one minute. This is how the World Cup should be understood in its context.
The BBC’s opening day coverage was also linked on Twitter by Grant Wahl, possibly the most well-known soccer journalist in the US, who wrote: “Big contrast between the Qatar regime-aligned coverage in the United States on Fox Sports and the coverage on the UK rights-holder.”
On Twitter, several viewers criticized Fox for “shilling for Qatar” and urged it to “cool out on the propaganda.”
Fox executive producer David Neal stated in the run-up to the World Cup that he didn’t think viewers wanted to be distracted by off-field issues during the competition.
We really believe that viewers flock to Fox Sports for the World Cup in order to see it, he added. State-owned airline Qatar Airways is a significant sponsor of Fox’s World Cup programming.
Contrarily, Telemundo, which holds the US Spanish-language broadcast rights for the World Cup, declared it would adopt a more aggressive stance than Fox.
“I believe we need to discuss the legacy we leave behind. By the time the competition is complete, we [won’t have been] disregarding any potential geopolitical difficulties, according to Ray Warren, president of Telemundo Deportes.
The US World Cup team has made a powerful, if understated, a statement about its beliefs. In a nation where homosexuality is prohibited, they prominently displayed a rainbow logo at the team’s training center.
This week, US head coach Gregg Berhalter remarked, “We want to bring attention to societal issues not just within the United States, but also internationally.” We acknowledge that Qatar has made progress and has come a long way, but work is still to be done.