Usain Bolt and NBC likely provided the best-worst examples of the Olympic spirit and balancing the line between nationalistic pride with love for humanity. After his dominant win in the 100m, Bolt interrupted his sideline reporter mid-interview as he heard the US American national anthem being played, he pointed the interviewer to the podium, and continued the interview only after Sanya Richards-Ross Olympic gold medal was properly honored. See below.
Now contrast Bolt’s perspective of priorities with NBC’s nationalistically myopic coverage low-lighted by its decision to skip over the London Opening Ceremony tribute to 7/7 bombing victims and follow-up explanation that “it wasn’t tailored for the U.S. audience.” . Criticism of NBC and this decision had been broad.
“The excuse comes despite the fact that the devastating attack – which killed 52 people and left many with life-changing injuries – was mourned across the globe and claimed the life of a New Yorker.”
“With one seamless cut to a celebrity interview before the tribute to terror victims in the Olympic opening ceremonies, NBC reinforced the perception that Americans have neither compassion nor the ability to relate to tragedy abroad. Americans didn’t need to see it because it didn’t happen here. The Olympic tribute was “not about America.”
“Can you imagine the BBC opting to cut out a tribute to 9-11 at a future Olympics held in the States because it wasn’t “tailored for a UK audience”? If that happened, suffice to say the switchboards at BBC Broadcasting House would have blown a fuse.”
NBC’s decision was the lowlight of general nationalistic myopic coverage that goes far beyond just patriotism or nationalistic pride. Tailoring your coverage to American audiences does not mean ignoring foreign pain or foreign greatness.
It is expected that Carmelita Jeter or Dawn Harper be interviewed after they receive silver medals in their 100m track events, but why not take a minute to interview gold medalists Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price from Jamaica or Sally Pearson from Australia? Didn’t they win? Why can’t we also process their joy?
Ignoring the 52 victims from 7/7 bombing, was NBC’s worst moment that symbolized problems with it’s entire coverage that went against the grain of the Olympic spirit.
Bolt’s Olympic moment wasn’t nearly as incredible as his 9.63 time to win the 100 meter Gold Medal on Sunday, but was far more replica-table for all future media coverage.
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