Experts wonder: why no mention of Shroud of Turin in NBC Olympic coverage

A sports writer for the USA Today newspaper is wondering; why has broadcast network NBC neglected any mention of the incredibly famous Shroud of Turin, despite the 2006 Olympics being held in its front yard.

In the U.S., NBC has exclusive broadcast rights to the games, making it the primary source for most American’s event coverage.

Michael McCarthy, writing in a column last week, said that in the days of Olympic coverage so far, “NBC (with the exception of [The Today Show]) has yet to mention the Shroud of Turin.”

“Whether you venerate the Shroud as the actual burial cloth of a crucified Jesus of Nazareth or dismiss it as a clever medieval forgery,” he pointed out, “it's odd NBC has ignored one of world's most mysterious, and controversial, religious artifacts.”

William Donohue, President of the New York-based Catholic League for religious and civil liberties, recently called the media neglect "hypocritical", and charged NBC with deliberately avoiding religion.

"If you asked the average American to name something about Turin, Italy, they'd name the Shroud," Donohue said. "It's like having the Olympics in Fort Knox and not mentioning gold.”

Some think that the lack of mention is related to recent Islamic violence over Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. They say that with the cloud of religious controversy casting a shadow over world media, NBC has sought to avoid any mention of religion whatsoever.

However, NBC’s David Neil, executive producer for the network’s Olympic coverage, said that the station is working on a Shroud feature but, up to now, have been more concerned about giving full coverage to the events--and not getting bogged down in feature stories.

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