Gage Skidmore / Flickr mike pence...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

A Beijing-based analyst with a long history of Asian journalistic reporting and writing, Joshua Cooper Ramo got fired from NBC for a relatively general on-air statement about the undeniable role of Japan in modern Korean history.

Such an ad hoc comment shouldn’t create a firing pretext but mentioning the Japanese occupation and omitting their colonial oppression was “ignorant and insensitive”. Perhaps mentioning imperialist histories should happen more often during cultural media events.

Yet it was interesting to contrast the negative response from South Korean (ROK) media to Joshua Cooper Ramo’s comments with no mention of Pence’s rudeness at the Olympics opening ceremony.

 “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.”

Koreans around the world criticized his remarks on social media and a petition soon circulated online.

Japan, which colonized the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945, has left a deep legacy of mistrust and ill-feeling in South Korea.

The Pyeongchang Organising Committee (POCOG) had earlier told Reuters that it “informed NBC of the errors in their commentary and the sensitivity of the subject in Korea”.


(Wikipedia) In 2008, Joshua Cooper Ramo served as China analyst for NBC Sports during its coverage of the Beijing Olympic Games. For his work with Bob Costas and Matt Lauer during the Opening Ceremony of the Games he shared in a Peabody and an Emmy award.[9]

In 2018, Ramo rejoined NBC Sports as a contributor and analyst for its coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.[10] During the opening ceremony, Ramo noted that Japan occupied Korea from 1910–45, and then added, “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.” In The Korea Times, Jung Min-ho called the comment “incorrect and insensitive,” writing that “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.” NBC issued an on-air apology.[11] The next day, Ramo was fired from his job at NBC.[12]

The framing is more interesting in that the social media response (-bots?) seemed more designed to mess with NBC, but we’re at the beginning of the Olympics. Who knows what new conflicts might emerge by the time Ivanka Trump, “the Kim Yo-jong of America” arrives for the closing ceremonies.


Get The Trump Impeachment Newsletter.

Liked it? Take a second to support Associate Editor on Patreon!

This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

1 COMMENT

  1. MIKE PENCE IS AN EMBARRASSMENT TO AMERICA, AND WE AMERICANS. THIS IS A SLAP IN THE FACE TO PEOPLE WE WANT TO THAW RELATIONS WITH. AND THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THIS LEVEL OF RUDENESS. WE DIDN’T VOTE FOR HIM AND WE DON’T TRUST HIM TO SPEAK FOR ANY OF WE WORKING PEOPLE. MY OPINION IS HE HAS COMMITTED TREASON, SHOULD BE CHARGED, AND PROSECUTED FOR TREASON.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here