Like everyone else, I was flabbergasted upon learning yesterday that NBC would not be televising or streaming the Olympic opening ceremony live here in the year 2012.
Instead, the east coast would have to wait a further three hours, and the west coast would have to wait a further six hours to watch the ceremony.
I’m a cable subscriber, but I like many others turned to various 3rd party streamers to view BBC’s coverage of the opening ceremony live since neither NBC or any other American network would be showing it. And BBC’s coverage was excellent. They covered the entire ceremony without cutting to a commercial break and their anchors displayed nothing but respect for every nation and every athlete in attendance. They also displayed an operating knowledge of almost every team and used every opportunity possible to educate the viewer.
Even if you chose not to utilize unconventional methods to watch the ceremony live, it would have been nearly impossible to avoid spoilers anyway as we live in a world that is connected at all times.
NBC’s self-centered refusal to cover the ceremony live on any of its subsidiary channels was boneheaded enough, but even if they had covered it live, it wouldn’t have made up for their utterly embarrassing coverage of the event.
Rather than cut directly to the opening ceremony, NBC opened their evening coverage with Bob Costas consulting Tom Brokaw on the “controversy” surrounding London’s supposed lack of preparedness for the games.
The non-existent “controversy” was, of course, a reference to Mitt Romney’s disastrous tour of London wherein he made a complete ass of himself by accusing the city of being unprepared. The resulting British media shit-storm and rebuke from British politicians was a sight to behold, and not just because we got to eat popcorn while observing from across the pond. It was also magnificent because Romney was flat wrong, and under similar circumstances here in America our media would not inform you that Romney is wrong. They would instead play the role of faux concern troll and ask what “the other side” has to say about it.
And that’s exactly how NBC decided to spend the first minutes of their Olympic coverage — by having Bob Costas and Tom Brokaw play the role of faux concern troll. Because if Mitt Romney says London is unprepared, and London says Mitt Romney is full of shit, we better turn to Tom fucking Brokaw to mediate the situation. He’s our antiquated fact-checker.
If that weren’t enraging enough, NBC then spent the next half hour insulting our intelligence by pretending the opening ceremony hadn’t already occurred three hours earlier.
Once NBC was done shoving Ryan Seacrest, Justin Beiber, and other mind-numbing, pre-game style speculation down our throats and finally began airing the tape-delayed ceremony, things got even worse.
Co-anchors Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira spent the next several hours cracking the Macy’s Day Parade equivalent of fart jokes concerning everything from the dramatic opening ceremony, to the names of some of the nations in attendance, to the uniforms worn by some of the athletes, to the demeanor of Queen Elizabeth. And that was between the more than a dozen commercial breaks to sell us boner bills, luxury cars, and anti-Obama attack ads.
Professional pontificator and obvious Romney fanboy Bob Costas also chimed in to say that no matter what your political ideology is, you “have to admit Romney saved the Olympics.”
No, Bob. No we do not. Although if you want to discuss how Romney accepted a federal bailout of the Olympics, I’m game.
Both the overseas reaction to Mitt Romney’s London stumble tour and NBC’s shithouse coverage of the opening day of the Olympics reminded me just how embarrassing, incompetent, and unprofessional the American media is. And not to absolve ourselves from blame — Americans have also become too complacent. We don’t demand better, and it’s time for us to start.