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TV coverage of the Beijing Olympics

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:13 pm
by Charlie
It seems like every news item on the Olympics wants to keep getting digs into China and its human rights record, as if that has got something to do with anything. Of course China is using the Olympics to glorify itself. That's the reason every country wants to host the Olympics. But let's be consistent.

This kind of coverage did not happen when the Olympics were in Los Angeles or Atlanta, and there's no country in the world with more to hide and more hypocrisy than the Americans. Just look at them pretending that Russia is to blame for what's happening in Georgia, as if the Americans have not been poking a stick through the big bear's cage for years now, building this supposed defence shield in every country bordering Russia, while getting in a huff every time the bear growls.

How come this doesn't happen when the BBC goes to cover the US Golf Championship? Should there not be some stuff about the Indian Reservations, the scandalous proportion of the prison populations which are black and Hispanic, the American record of political inteference in Central America, condoning tens of thousands of deaths in Nicagarua and Guatemela, and don't the millions of Iraqis displaced by American violation of a sovereign nation.

I've generally been an admirer of Channel 4 News, but am getting increasinlgy frustrated with their banal and repetitive coverage of the one-sided, one-eyed poltical slant to so much of their Chinese coverage. It's got the point where Human Rights becomes a signal to stop listening, because its name has been used in vain so often. Alex Thompson should know better. The main news announcer Jon Snow wisely took the week off - is there a connection? Did he know this line of attack was coming, and disapprove?

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:13 am
by Charlie
A different grumble about BBC TV coverage of athletics, which tends to attract the most trainspotterish of commentators. Their voices are dead, their commentary mundane. Steve Cram is excellent, but the rest need changing - Paul Dickinson on field events is particularly tedious, and Stuart Storey as the second track commentator isn't much better.

Among the pundits, Michael Johnson is great, unafraid of being controversial and a brilliant analyst, but although Colin Jackson is surely a very nice guy he rarely has anything interesting to say.

Must all the athletes be subjected to the torture of being grilled by Phil Jones only minutes after they finish, no matter how badly they have done? It's cruel and rarely valuable. Sure, let a winner express their delight; but please spare the losers.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 6:51 am
by Papa M
Agreed - Michael Johnson is fantastic.

My main gripe has been in the overall presentation from the studio. The Scots girl and Gabby Yorath both dire. Adrian Chiles - nice enough bloke but should never be working on television.

And the commentary of some of the minor sports: I've already complained about the cycling. I've now made a note of his name - Hugh Porter. This guy is hopeless. I thought he was bad on the road race but he was even worse on the BMX.

And the Blue Peter soundalike bloke on the gymnastics completely spoilt that part of the Olympics for me.

And as usual we get hour upon hour of the few minor sports that UK is good at (Horse jumping and rowing) and yet nothing on a mega-significant sport like Baseball.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:25 am
by uiwangmike
Papa M wrote:And as usual we get hour upon hour of the few minor sports that UK is good at (Horse jumping and rowing) and yet nothing on a mega-significant sport like Baseball.


I had a choice of 3 channels last night on which to see the baseball final, including the extremely long medal ceremony (In case you missed it, Korea beat Cuba 3-2). Korea has had 6 channels covering the Games live or on replay, and (as always) they show scarcely any interest in non-Korean athletes, so track and field and gymnastics, for example, have received only cursory coverage. Even Usain Bolt’s 200m final wasn’t shown live. There were times when 3 channels would be showing the same table tennis game live, while 2 others have the Korean participant's match in the preceding round. Luckily, Korea has a strong marathon tradition, so I was able to see Samuel Wanjiru's brilliant run this morning. Anyway, Brits are lucky to have a broadcaster which treats the Games as a global event and offers some choice of sports to watch, however gung-ho the commentators may get over British successes.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:42 am
by Papa M
uiwangmike wrote:Brits are lucky to have a broadcaster which treats the Games as a global event and offers some choice of sports to watch, however gung-ho the commentators may get over British successes.


I guess so. Maybe I need to get a satellite to give me the full selection instead of just watching through the digital Freeview which only gives a choice of three BBC Olympic streams.

By the way - My favourite Olympic clip so far has been the Cuban Taekwondo guy who got disqualified and then kicked the judge. Classic! Kicked him right in the mouth - in front of the whole world! Instant life ban! Brilliant!

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:31 pm
by will vine
Charlie wrote:Must all the athletes be subjected to the torture of being grilled by Phil Jones only minutes after they finish, no matter how badly they have done? It's cruel and rarely valuable. Sure, let a winner express their delight; but please spare the losers.


I've always thought that poking a mic. at any player leaving the field of conflict as a triumph of hope over experience.......Muhammed Ali being an honourable exception.

Notwithstanding the fact that pop concerts/festivals shouldn't be televised, I have always found it depressing that they adopt exactly the same format as they do for sporting events - the little studio, complete with a panel of "experts" overlooking the whole site, backed up with half-wit vox pops from the field of play. Surely there are creative alternatives to this dull presentation.

Having just witnessed London's contribution to the closing ceremony I don't think my Chas & Dave quip (on a sister thread) was far short of the mark.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 4:11 pm
by Papa M
Papa M wrote:And the Blue Peter soundalike bloke on the gymnastics completely spoilt that part of the Olympics for me.



Blow me down - I've just been told that he IS a Blue Peter presenter.