Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Welcome To BIG BROTHER Sports: NBC 2012 Olympics Coverage The Worst EVER!

AFTER INVESTING A GROTESQUE SUM for exclusive rights to transmit the Olympics, NBC has not only turned it into a pay-per-view event for financially strapped audiences, but has used its tape-delay powers to edit, slice and dice the coverage of key competitions with an all-seeing BIG BROTHER eye toward manipulating the audience's emotions in pursuit of a ratings cushion that will justify its exclusive control over what we are allowed to see, and in what sequence. It is, for all intents and commercial purposes, George Orwell's "1984" nightmare come to life.

 But it has failed miserably. For where NBC is able to control its coverage, it cannot stop critics from fiercely scrutinizing it and voicing complaints in social media, particularly Twitter. Already, one British journalist has been silenced by Twitter, doing NBC's dirty work, for posting a string of complaints followed by the e-mail address of an NBC executive who is broadcasting the Games. His intent was to urge viewers to e-mail similar complaints about the coverage directly to the executive. Privacy concerns notwithstanding, the journalist has a point. We, the consumers, ought to have a direct outlet to NBC management with which to voice our complaints. The Boston Globe agrees, and editorialized that Twitter went too far in shutting down the journalist's account.

NBC's failure to anticipate the power of the Twitterverse and keep a lid on spoiler results alerts is easily the most common and vociferous complaint. In this regard, I think they're getting a bum rap. While they could have managed the spoiler alert thing much better, bottom line is, HEY, if you're one of the millions addicted to Twitter, don't blame NBC for those flashing results on your i-Phone as you run a red light and narrowly avoid flinging a mother-and-child to Kingdom Come as you hurry home Tweetintaskin' behind the wheel to watch Women's Gymnastics.

More disturbing, though, is NBC behaving like the Chinese Communists in an obsessive control-FREAKDOM of its exclusive broadcasts. Jon Stewart was correct: It was completely out-of-line for NBC to show the insufferable Ryan Seacrest interviewing Michael Phelps instead of a tribute to the July 7 terrorism victims in London. I didn't even know this, possibly because I missed the Seacrest interview. But now that I know, I'm pissed. NBC has the power but no right to make these decisions for its audience. When we commit a chunk of time, hours, to watching an event such as the Opening Ceremonies, NBC has a professional obligation to respect our choice, and act accordingly.

In the same way the talking heads and news readers of the political channels have a compulsion to butt in at the most inopportune moments of an important live political event — the nanosecond Chris Jansing or Tamron Hall shove their faces in ours I'm out of there heading for C-SPAN — the entertainment BUMS like Lauer, Vieira, and Seacrest should confine their words to brief descriptions of what we're seeing; and for the most part they did, except for Seacrest. It doesn't surprise me that the only man worth his salt on that team, Bob Costas, looks funereal in his anchoring. Clearly, clearly he is uncomfortable with having to play along in the audience manipulation.

There's more. The NBC coverage fuck-ups have become a daily occurrence:
  • NBC ruined Missy Franklin's gold medal swim with a Today Show promo announcing an interview with the winner before viewers actually saw her race to the WIN in the pool. When the suits apologize by saying they have "a process in place" to keep this from happening again, viewers should know they've gone off the rails. It's simple. Don't anticipate results before they happen, and don't edit them when they do happen, barring extreme circumstances. Just be there to cover all the viewing — emphasis on VIEWING — angles.
NBC missed a big Olympics moment on Tuesday when it edited Ksenia Afanasyeva's tragic gymnastics finish out of its broadcast.

Afanasyeva, a Russian gymnast, was the reigning world champion for the floor exercise. She delivered a strong performance on Tuesday, until she crashed on her knees on her final pass. The mistake devastated her teammates, who were visibly shocked and upset.

NBC was hit for not airing the routine — a decision that critics said it made to create more suspense around Team USA. The American team was set to perform after the Russians, and was already ahead in the previous events.
One viewer tweeted it "proves NBC can’t be trusted to show tape-delayed sports." Of course, if NBC broadcast the Games live, much of these issues would disappear. But then, where would BIG BROTHER be?

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