Yesterday, we invited NBC to answer a few simple questions about why it is ruining the Olympics for millions of Americans by refusing to show events live and instead saving everything for a stale evening highlight reel.
So far, this invitation has been greeted with deafening silence.
The answer, almost certainly, is “money,” but we are actually interested in the details.
Why is it to NBC’s benefit to ruin the Olympics for millions? Why not just show the events live on subsidiary networks and then show them AGAIN on the puffy highlight reel?
And inasmuch as NBC seems intent on ruining the Olympics regardless of how much we and others scream, why not explain to America why it is choosing to do this? The answer can’t be that appalling, can it? Presumably it’s all about trying to get the biggest possible evening audience for those precious sponsors, never mind that half the evening Olympics audience is so bored or angry that they’re doing something else or wishing they could throw their remotes through their TVs.
Inquiring minds want to know why, in the Internet age, when Olympics results are available in real time everywhere, including on NBC’s Olympics web site, NBC is refusing to explain its coverage decisions to America. And as NBC sits in its polished silence, the pressure is building on the network to say something.
Every day, we get emails from Canadians crowing about how awesome their TV coverage is. Every day, we watch the Twitter stream cursing NBC for its tone-deafness. Every day we get steamed emails from Americans furious that a greedy corporation is coming between them and their favourite events.
And every evening, as we sit in the same room as a TV showing the highlights of events we knew the results of hours earlier (occasionally glancing up from our laptops to see whether the replay is remotely interesting), we also shake our heads at the lengths NBC goes to create the impression that all these replays are actually happening now.
“And now let’s go back to Grouse Mountain for the thrilling conclusion of the Women’s Snowboardcross!” the once-authentic-seeming Bob Costas will gush, as he sits in some studio with a fake fire flickering in the background.
And the broadcast will cut away to a tape from hours earlier, of an event that everyone who has visited a news site or listened to a radio or talked to a friend that afternoon has known the outcome of for, seemingly, forever.
It’s just so fake. (Or inauthentic, to use a popular Internet word.)
In today’s Internet world, people HATE fake.
It has gotten so bad that readers of the New York Times (and, presumably, other news organisations) have taken to begging the organisations to stop reporting the Olympics results because they are so sick of having the Olympics ruined for them.
Well, fat chance that’s going to happen. Because even if you could muzzle the New York Times, you couldn’t shut down Twitter. And in the age of Twitter, any monopoly on information companies like the New York Times (and NBC) once held has long since evaporated.
NBC is run by reasonable people. Why is it so much to ask for them to explain to the country why they are ruining a sporting event that they brag so much about being associated with that happens only every four years?
Why, NBC? Why?
We await your answer.
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