Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Michael L. Bruner

Second Advisor

Greg Lisby

Third Advisor

Kathy Fuller-Seeley

Fourth Advisor

Leonard Teel

Fifth Advisor

Fei-ling Wang


A critical comparison of the CCTV and NBC broadcasts of the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics demonstrates how two sets of narratives that on the surface glorify China and the long Chinese cultural and historic tradition offer very different ideological projections about China's rise as a power and engagement with the wider capitalist world. For CCTV, China has finally righted a longstanding historical injustice and established itself as a co-equal nation among nations. For NBC, ambivalence about China is the watchword, and further reforms that by implication will help clear China of its non-democratic, totalitarian, and economically mercantilist sheen are needed if the country is to be fully embraced. The ideological construction is more hidden in the NBC broadcast, but both depend on massive erasures of history and blurring of contemporary issues, causing both sets of narratives to fail tests of narrative coherence. Discursive struggles over the authorship of the Opening Ceremony underlie both media texts and expose their ideological positioning.