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Whitlock: TV sucks and bloggers > print media

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by poindexter, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. poindexter

    poindexter Well-Known Member


    This revolution won't be televised either
    By Jason Whitlock

    Updated: August 22, 2008, 12:56 AM EST

    American television will soon learn the same industry-killing lesson that is currently destroying American newspapers.

    The birth of the Internet means you can no longer dictate what is news, when news happens and what is appropriate for viewers.

    We get to make all those decisions for ourselves, thank you.

    So, to be quite honest, I'm not all that upset with NBC's "plausibly live" coverage of the Olympics. And I've been in Los Angeles since Sunday watching NBC's "implausibly tape-delayed" version of the Beijing Olympics, an edition that airs three hours behind NBC's eastern- and central-time-zone Beijing reports.

    I'm not mad because I know how this story ends. Progress is going to steamroll the television industry the same way it has newspapers. By the time the 2012 Olympics roll around, no one on the West Coast will learn of Michael Phelps' eighth gold medal by listening to the race on the radio.

    Yeah, that's what it came to in Los Angeles — a friend resorted to radio play-by-play of swimming.

    When Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt eclipsed Michael Johnson's record in the 200-meter dash a friend sent me a text message minutes after Bolt crossed the finish line. By 9:30 a.m. in Los Angeles, the same friend had e-mailed me a link to video footage of Bolt's amazing run.

    Twelve hours later, while sitting in a bar, I got to watch NBC's "plausibly live" version of Bolt's dash. It was no more exciting watching Bolt run on NBC at night than on YouTube in the morning. It's hard to screw up 19 seconds, and I don't really need a color commentator to break down Bolt's form.

    Arrogance is America's No. 1 disease, its most plentiful natural resource. No American industry is more arrogant than the media, particularly the television wing of the media. Cursed with good looks, the ability to enunciate most words and access to the best parties and sociably acceptable drugs, TV people really believe they're smarter than everyone else and essential to maintaining the myth of a true democracy.

    Talk to Whitlock

    Ten years ago you could say the exact same thing about print journalists except for the good looks and access to parties. But we've been humbled. Bloggers have proven that we're not that smart. In fact, we're really rather stupid and stale.

    No one counts on us to break reliable news anymore. They sure as hell don't expect us to be creative. We've been exposed. People read newspapers because they used to be the only place to find out what was coming on television and how many hits Pete Rose had on a Tuesday night.

    Now that there are other, more convenient sources for that kind of information, people under age 60 have little trouble avoiding the newspaper. All you need is a remote control to find out what's on the tube. You can find an updated baseball boxscore on a pitch-by-pitch basis on the Net.

    I watch NBA games with a laptop in my lap. I take my laptop to bed with me. My friends all surf the web religiously on their phones.

    For the most part, newspapers were never special. They were all we had. I would compare a newspaper to travelling by covered wagon, but a horse and carriage is superior because at least it was environmentally safe.

    Well, the same way the Internet and bloggers have exposed the newspaper industry, they're going to do the same thing to all of television.

    TV sucks. Most of it anyway. No one should be all that surprised that NBC would arrogantly tape delay damn near the whole thing so that it could be properly packaged for ratings impact.

    American Idol is the standard. That's what you're witnessing — the American Idol-ization of the Olympics. You can't rush that. It takes time to turn a sporting event into a reality talent show, and reality TV works best in primetime. Hell, I'm surprised that NBC didn't talk Usain Bolt into wearing a giant, Flavor Flav-size clock around his neck for the 200-meter final.

    The executives running NBC know what you want much more than you do, don't they?

    You don't want the events live. You don't care that you already know the outcome to the events you're watching. You read a spoiler about the season finale of Lost and watched anyway. It's no different from watching Michael Phelps swim.

    Television's arrogance is opening opportunities for the same people who exposed newspaper executives. NBC should've broadcast key Olympic events live on the Internet.

    It's the new millennium. People's habits have changed. We get up at 3 a.m. just to check our e-mail and take a quick glance at the news to make sure President Bush hasn't brought peace and freedom to another country with bombs and destruction.

    Our expectations have changed. We expect to see sports reality as it happens. We know the Real World isn't real because it's been chopped, screwed and tape delayed. We don't want the Sports World turned into the Real World. The drugs, showboating and fights over money are hard enough to stomach.

    TV is going to learn to give us what we want or it's going to be replaced by something more real and organic. Citizen journalists are eventually going to start doing their own web newscasts. Camcorders are relatively inexpensive. The guy sitting at home can ambush the mayor and ask questions just as stupid as his local news reporter.

    Trust me, this is the last Olympics we will suffer through in tape delay.

    This column will be available to East Coast readers in 12 hours.
  2. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    TV people in Cleveland are already learning this.
  3. Simon_Cowbell

    Simon_Cowbell Active Member

    I bet.
  4. poindexter

    poindexter Well-Known Member

  5. Simon_Cowbell

    Simon_Cowbell Active Member

    Internet? Yes.

    Bloggers? Fuck no.

    They are the remoras on news' great white shark.

    They only have opinions and, well, everyone has one of those.
  6. Big Chee

    Big Chee Active Member

    Sounds like Whitlock is trying to join ranks with teh blogging world.

    Why doesn't he full fledge dive into it and not get paid for his services?
  7. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    That's one big fist of meat.

    Fatty Arbuckle has the answers for everything.
  8. heyabbott

    heyabbott Well-Known Member

    Maybe Mr. Whitlock should have googled the topic of his rant, then used a dictionary to look up the term 'redundant'?
  9. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Whitlock forgets the obvious.

    No matter how many of your friends are watching on their cell phones, NBC is not going to show gymnastics to 2,000,000 people at 9 a.m. when they can show it to 25,000,000 people at 9 p.m.

    Sure, it pisses off the purists. But the purists do are not the casual fan . . . the one who makes up the bulk of those 25,000,000 and has better things to do than to check out Usain Bolt's performance at 8:48 a.m.
  10. DisembodiedOwlHead

    DisembodiedOwlHead Active Member

    Seems that NBC's record ratings would disagree with the point of this column.
  11. JC

    JC Well-Known Member

    Why can't you do both? Replay it in prime time, I would bet 90% of the people watching already know the results.
  12. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    My guess is that ad dollars would not be the same.

    Someone paying big bucks to hawk Coca-Cola during the (see it now or not at all) women's gymnastics is not going to pay as much if it is a replay (which could be TiVoed from earlier in the day with the commercials removed).

    And "knowing" the results obviously isn't that big of a deal. Because ratings are still strong. And I doubt 90% of those watching know the results. Sure, they can get them if they really want to. But people still come home from a day job, eat dinner and then sit in front of a TV for entertainment. To them it might as well be live.
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