Over the past week I have been griping to anyone who would listen about the abysmal Olympic broadcasting. I am not alone and since misery loves company I began seeing more and more evidence of others unhappy with NBC’s choice of programming. Things sort of reached a climax with me on Friday when the first 40 minutes of prime time programming featured a ‘feel good’ story on Kerri Strugg and the 1996 Olympic gymnastic team. It was more than I could take! I fired off a couple of angry tweets and even post on Facebook how idiotic it was that they couldn’t show something from this years games. I emailed NBC directly about my frustration as I’m sure many other viewers did. I didn’t receive a reply and to be honest I wasn’t expecting one. I found it strange that despite the number of people griping on Twitter the #NBCFail nor #NBCOlympics were not trending. When I searched I found more than few complaints but had difficulty finding the same comment twice. Oh well, I’m tired and have to get up early to work tomorrow anyway so to bed I went. As I lay there going to sleep still grumbling to myself about the incompetence of the NBC producers in charge of this mess I theorized about the massive conspiracy and coverup that would have to occur for NBC not to catch any flack in the world of social media.
Then it hit me. The producers weren’t the morons I thought them to be. In fact, they were and are much smarter than I had guessed. Months possibly even years earlier they saw the ‘handwriting on the wall’ so to speak with Twitters influence on what the general masses will and will not tolerate. What, how, and why a series of comments can be turned into an uprising like the Arab Spring or Occupy movement is still a bit of a mystery. I see it as similar to what happens when an unruly crowd turns into a rock throwing, business burning, crazed mob. Protesters and cops alike have stated, after the fact, that when the mood turned you could ‘feel’ it. Like electricity or heat, a little indescribable maybe but definitely a physical impression. And while I am hesitant to give the devil credit for every bad deed done in this world, I am sure there are situations where he sits cheering on the sidelines and others where he ignites that fire.
1 Peter 5:8
Anyway, the aforementioned producers had figured this out far long before the start of the Games and officially partnered with Twitter, YouTube, and even Facebook to some degree to help ‘broadcast’ the Olympics. Everyone cheered! How cool will it be to have that inside access, instant information capability, blah, blah, blah…
You and me, well at least me anyways, we’re suckers. We believe the old adage that knowledge is power and more information along with faster access to that information would help us personally enjoy the Olympics so much more, especially if we couldn’t be there in person. “Michael Phelps won another record medal?!?” and finding out within mere minutes of it occurring in real time?! Cool! I couldn’t wait to watch it that evening even knowing the outcome and understanding the commentary and film would be edited for the best event portrayal. But no, it’s not shown at 8pm or even 9pm but kept as a teaser till the literal 11th hour. By then I’m not only tired and cranky I’m yelling at the cameraman for a zooming out too far or in to close, muting the pedantic commentary, and throwing my remote at the dog in frustration! (and no, there was no literal dog) I’m upset over something so silly as television programming but none the less I’m upset! So, like any good American in the modern age I take to Twitter to publicly air my displeasure. (I used to think it beat running outside to wail at the sky, now I’m not so sure).
“@NBCOlympics what the heck, yo?!? Show the right footage! #NBCFail”
I hope for the retweet but take some satisfaction that others are just as stubborn and hopeful and silly as me reading thru post after post. But to what end? As I lay in bed last night it occurs to me information or knowledge isn’t power but rather the control of that information is the real power. NBC execs had me exactly where they wanted- sitting in my living room being inundated with Visa and Proctor & Gamble ads. How many hours of garbage have I sat thru waiting for a glimpse of beach volleyball or a gold medal gymnastics routine or even a simple medal presentation ceremony? Sure, they’re streaming bazillions of hours and every event you’ve ever heard of and some you haven’t but I believe the vast majority of us sheep are going to wait for the prime time recap and since ‘they’ know that we get fed exactly what ‘they’ desire. Complain if you want, grumble if you desire and even tweet your displeasure but my guess is the same few head honchos that set up this
are the same ones giggling at our frustration as Twitter and YouTube carefully edit their feeds to maintain a positive atmosphere regarding the Olympic Games.
Yeah, those NBC execs are smarter than I gave them credit for being and they sure are smarter than me but that’s not really saying much.