This weekend, NBC kicked off its expensive coverage of the London Olympics by cutting out the part of the opening ceremony that commemorated the victims of the July 7, 2005 bombings, in favour of a soft soap interview with Michael Phelps, the record-breaking swimmer. Then, when Phelps swam (and lost) the next day, it waited eight hours to televise him in action.
What, if anything, goes through the minds of people who make such decisions? We know because the broadcasting network that has infuriated me and others, by refusing to broadcast popular events live, has been honest. It thinks that Americans are interested in live US athletes, not the foreign deceased, and it needs to recoup the $1.2bn it laid out on the London rights.
As a result, NBC’s coverage of the Olympics has been less like a sports broadcast than a surrealist farce in which the characters affect to know less than the audience.
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© 2013 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.
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