One of the biggest stories in America from the early days of the Olympics was the criticism of NBC and its coverage of the games. A hashtag for Twitter posts of #NBCFail captured the frustration of the audience. Quickly the story began to splinter and their emerged accusers and defenders along with a multiplicity of issues.
Much of the problem was the time difference with the Olympics being in London and the eight hour time difference. This, of course, not being NBC's fault but yet they got the blame for the various ways that results were revealed before the pre-taped coverage created for prime time airing in the United States. Quite a few people have been recorded as having gone apoplectic upon being told the result of some swim stroke race at some distance and having their Olympics "ruined."
Hollywood mysterioso blogger Nikki Finke of Deadline.com became an NBC apologist and kept pointing out that despite the criticism of NBC, the nightly ratings for the taped coverage were breaking records. Of course, since she is hiding out somewhere, she could not be informed that it wasn't the Olympics that were being complained about it was the way NBC was covering them. Of course, no one interested in the Olympics is going to boycott the coverage to make a point! Even if they did hate the endless commercials, sappy stories and obnoxious announcing.
But even those aspects of the coverage are not the real fault because all those are available on a regular basis in American sports coverage. We even have entire networks that have as their sole purpose serving up endless commercials, sappy stories and obnoxious announcing. The United States contains incredible amounts of endless commercials, sappy stories and obnoxious announcing - it literally is the foundation of American television. So that is just par for the course and is the expected.
The real problem with the Olympic coverage is the USA hype and "homerism" that is just unnecessary and very distasteful for any true fan of the Olympics and the ideal that they represent. The coverage consistently focuses on the American athletes to the exclusion of the other competitors. We don't get their names or their stories. It is worse than watching a Chicago White Sox broadcast on WGN with Ken "Hawk" Harrelson and Steve Stone. Those guys represent the worst in homer broadcasting in calling their team the "good guys" and "we" this and "we" that about the team. The goofy comedy bits, whining about umpire calls, criticism of opposing players and the really obnoxious personalized calling of the Sox players by pet names makes for a simply embarrassing viewing experience. NBC is not quite that bad, but between the swimming coverage and the gymnastic coverage, it was in the ballpark.
We were trying to remember when it all started to be so "USA USA USA". Certainly when we were younger there was a purposely taboo against over-nationalizing the games. It was okay to root for your country and your team but it was classless to do something like chant "USA" during a game. This was a good thing. Minimizing the commercialism, maximizing the amateurism and holding back the nationalism made for a special experience that did somehow seem Olympian and not just another vehicle for convincing people to buy more crap they didn't need. The classlessness is the single most disturbing element of the current coverage.
The answer seemed to be that it was the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics that began this awful trend of America ‹ber Alles. Suddenly every Olympic year became another chance to grossly espouse the philosophy of American Exceptionalism and the 1996 Olympics exuded the lack of class, respect and general decency fast disappearing from American sportsmanship. It is just a shame that every American sportsman should feel. This coincides with the embarrassing Presidency of Ronald Reagan and his "shining city on a hill" metaphor that feeds into the evils of American fascism.
"American Exceptionalism" is the theory that the United States is different from other countries in that it has a specific world mission to spread liberty and democracy. A more noxious and poisonous philosophy has rarely emerged in America and as with most fascist philosophies is marked by those who promulgate it. Characters like half-term Governor turned reality star Sarah Palin, disgraced former Speaker of House Newt Gingrich and professional Presidential candidate Mitt Romney have used the spectre of American exceptionalism to whip their base fandom into a frenzy of supposed superiority. During the administration of George W. Bush, this morphed into a dangerous concept that somehow America was an "exception" to the Law of Nations. Thus, America could invade a sovereign foreign nation and murder its citizens with impunity and legally because the law doesn't apply to it.
In the last 20 years we have seen American move from a nation of moderation to two extremes. The progressive, tolerant, inclusive left-leaning blue states and the retrograde, intolerant, exclusive right-tilting red states. The red staters are constantly harassing blue staters for not being American enough by not participating the jingoism. It is a constant refrain that has emerged in the constant spew of the Drudge-Breitbart-Fox News media about how the "left hates America." They use this sludge to attempt to dirty the President Barack Obama and portray him as not like them (as if he would ever want to be, I know I don't). These are the same jack-a-napes who were so angry about our dependence on foreign that they slapped an American flag sticker on the gas-guzzler.
But this is not NBC's fault, because they did not invent the aberrant neo-conservative totalitarian philosophy and the use of the symbols of patriotism to add luster to their degenerate beliefs. Certainly NBC will bow down to it and certainly they are not going to give the American public anything they don't want when it comes to their Olympic coverage. Americans want US-centric coverage and could really care less about more than a handful of the 10,000 athletes on the teams from other nations.
Ultimately, the problem is not with London, not with the Olympics and not NBC - the problem is us. America has no class and we are the ones spoiling the Olympics. The Twitter hashtag should be #AmericanFail. No matter how far we advance in the sophistication of human interaction, our society are no better than our worst members. And, oh, how much worse can it get?