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The Media

Did NBC Alter the Olympics' Opening Ceremony? 499

techmuse writes "Viewing the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony online at NBC's Olympics website, you can see that the order in which the countries were presented was very different from the actual order of the countries in the ceremony, as listed at Wikipedia. NBC skipped roughly 100 countries ahead, then jumped back and forth, apparently delaying the appearance of the United States in its home market until later in the broadcast. (In fact, the US team was shown on the infield before they were shown marching!) NBC did not acknowledge this in its broadcast. Is NBC altering the reality of the broadcast to boost ratings? Was this true only online, or also in the live broadcast?"
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Did NBC Alter the Olympics' Opening Ceremony?

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  • This just in... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kcbanner ( 929309 ) * on Saturday August 09, 2008 @07:25PM (#24540725) Homepage Journal
    ...American media alters the truth to boost ratings!

    Movie at 11.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 09, 2008 @07:26PM (#24540735)

    Last Post!!!!

  • by jackb_guppy ( 204733 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @07:28PM (#24540755)

    If you are not Windows or Mac, there is no web broadcast.

    Gets me thinking, how did a Slashdoter view the web broadcast... Is someone using Windows?

  • by vigmeister ( 1112659 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @07:30PM (#24540765)

    to further nationalistic propaganda. All the medals won by Americans in the past were all actually made of tin. All the better to make hats with!


  • Not news. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Saturday August 09, 2008 @07:31PM (#24540775)

    This has been a tradition in Olympic broadcasts for years. It's called editing.

    • Re:Not news. (Score:5, Informative)

      by telso ( 924323 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:44PM (#24541365)
      Actually, editing is not an Olympic broadcasting tradition; it's an NBC Olympic broadcasting tradition. Most Olympic networks show as much as they can live, and only show events tape-delayed when there are two events worth watching at the same time (or they're showing recaps when it's night time where the Olympics are).

      NBC, on the other hand, instead of showing one of the most exciting opening ceremonies ever, decided to show The Today Show and, in my area, local news (apparently some loser got arrested for a domestic assault!).

      Sadly, this is not news either. Which is why most Americans who live on the Canadian border watch the Olympics on CBC.
      • Re:Not news. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Torontoman ( 829262 ) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @12:44AM (#24542839)

        This is blatantly obvious to us Canadians when we have the choice of watching CBC or a US station... We watch the CBC live (whenever it happens to be...) and with 'low level editing' - and just sort of laugh at the US version which is in prime time and so altered it is just awful. The CBC primetime event is an exact copy of the live event. (Probably because it's cheaper just to hit play and not to edit...)

    • Indeed. I believe the practice started with the 1936 Berlin Olympics when the German newsreels showed only negatives of all of the track and field events, so that a white Jesse Owens could be seen beating the pants off of all the black athletes.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 09, 2008 @07:33PM (#24540791)


    I thought only America was in the Olympics. When did they start letting other countries participate?

  • olypics video tech (Score:5, Informative)

    by drDugan ( 219551 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @07:36PM (#24540819) Homepage

    I looked yesterday for where I could watch Olypics videos. Looks like I needed to instal some plugin from Microsoft that only works with "approved" browsers. Silverlight?

    I don't even mind if I'm bombarded with ads to see video. I would even pay for certain footage of one person I know competing in Beijing and some of the events. But a Microsoft player? No thanks.

    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Saturday August 09, 2008 @07:43PM (#24540893)

      There's no such thing as a television network that operates worldwide, so Olympic rights are sold on a country by country basis. Web video rights go to the TV network that owns the rights for the nation, and they have a right to lock other web videos out and responsiblity to keep their web videos within their borders. Sorry, no open media formats allowed, NBC had to go with something DRMed and they're already friendly with Microsoft, so it's no surprise requires Sliverlight.

  • dilemma (Score:5, Funny)

    by matushorvath ( 972424 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @07:36PM (#24540821)

    Now I don't know whether to boycott the Olympic Games because of China ignoring human rights or because it was converted to a festival of commerce. If it goes on like this, I may be soon able to boycott each day of Olympics for a different reason.

    • Re:dilemma (Score:5, Informative)

      by lp.sresu ( 132124 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @07:43PM (#24540889) Homepage

      It's even more commercial if you watch it on NBC. I swear if one of the athletes so much as coughs they go to commercial. "Fuck seeing the games, here are more inspiring ads from our sponsors!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      > Now I don't know whether to boycott the Olympic Games because of Germany mistreating the Jews, or because it was converted to a festival of commerce. If it goes on like this, I may be soon able to boycott each day of Olympics for a different reason.

      Fixed that for you, or at least set the wayback machine to the 1930's. Not to 'Godwin's Law' myself here, but the problem of countries hosting the games to boost their prestige and defuse civil rights abuse is an old one. And the problem of commercialization

      • Re:dilemma (Score:5, Interesting)

        by matushorvath ( 972424 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:00PM (#24541047)

        In fact, I think you are right. I can probably find a separate reason to boycott each day of the Games even now. Doping, commercialization, the new swimsuit controversy, human rights, Tibet, Avery Brundage reaction to Munich attacks, bribes deciding who will host the games, Moscow and L.A. "half-games"... and of course also the Berlin propaganda games (remember, you broke the law first ;)

  • by aralin ( 107264 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @07:48PM (#24540941)
    ... is that I have to actually subscribe to some local TV provider like AT&T, even if I don't own a TV, just so I could watch the NBC Olympics. There is no option for saying I don't have a TV service and to pay the sum they would receive from the local cable company directly to NBC. That is seriously outrageous.
    • by zsazsa ( 141679 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:02PM (#24541055) Homepage

      What's keeping you from just picking a provider from the list that they give you? I just picked the first one in the list (AT&T Broadband) and it let me in and watch the online version of the parade of nations.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Corbets ( 169101 )

      That was modded insightful, but I hoped it was meant to be funny, till I read your response.

      What is it with people today that believe they should be able to receive anything they want in any form they want it without taking into account economic realities? I would imagine NBC has little desire at the moment to provide micro-managed services to each little joe and dick when they can sell in bulk directly to a few large providers instead.

      Perhaps in the future that infrastructure will exist; maybe you can even

  • by zsazsa ( 141679 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @07:53PM (#24540985) Homepage

    I just did a quick check of the recording of the live broadcast that I made. In every spot I checked, the order given on the Wikipedia pages matches the one in the broadcast. So, at least in the case of the broadcasted version, the ordering matches up.

  • by dstates ( 629350 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:06PM (#24541083) Homepage

    Oh my, oh my. You mean the TV companies alter reality for marketing purposes? I am shocked.

    All those yellow lines that magically appear and disappear on the football fields?

    All those "billboards" that are not really there on the stadium wall?

    I bet those starlets are even where padded bras. Do you think that they might even have had surgery. Goodness gracious, I wonder if Barbara Walters uses botox?

    And those wrestlers. Do you think that they might be using steroids?

    I am shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

    Actually, the MSNBC online video let's you pick what you want to see and caries a lot of obscure sports from end to end. Much better than listening to Pierre Salinger babble on about wine tasting in all the French villages while you are waiting to see actual athletes.

  • by BanjoBob ( 686644 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:07PM (#24541093) Homepage Journal

    NBC has done an excellent job of insuring that Americans cannot watch the Olympics, the Opening Ceremony and other aspects of what is going on in China. They are the first to bitch and moan about China censorship and just look at what they're doing now! Typical media.

    They don't have cable out here so watching anything on the Internet from NBC is just not possible. They have effectively censored millions of Americans from watching the Olympics.

    What they do have has been cut up and altered to make room for all that advertising. And, just how many times do I have to hear "Ra Deem Team" from NBC. If I hear it again, I'm going to puke!

    Now, there are plenty of NON-AMERICAN web sites with the streams and videos! China has some, Germany has one, and there are others. You get the point... AVOID NBC and you can watch for free!

  • OMGWTF!?!?! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:08PM (#24541103)

    Guess, take a breath. Yes, NBC altered the video. They do the same thing when you see movies. They take your beloved movie and ALTER IT!!!!!! They do this to squish down time and show more things.

    Now, before we freak out shit out and panic that they are hiding something from you, realize that this stuff is filmed by more cameras then you can even begin to contemplate AND is filled with people from all around the world to serve as witnesses. What does this mean? It is really frigging unlikely that NBC is hiding "the truth" from you. Far more likely, they are trying to shrink a 4+ hour opening ceremony into something that will better fit their schedule.

    Worrying that they some how were altering the live feed is so dumb and inane that I can't even respond. People, take a frigging collective deep breath.

  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:15PM (#24541171)

    There was some incredible scenes to see but NBC camera people must have been told to zoom every camera and it diminished the quality IMO. The designers didn't create the imagery for moving viewers or moving cameras/lenses.

    It really became an annoyance and a disappointment.


  • by acvh ( 120205 ) <geek@m s c i g a r> on Saturday August 09, 2008 @08:15PM (#24541179) Homepage

    Dick Ebersole, who runs NBC Sports, is on record as saying that it is his goal to get better ratings, no matter what. That's why NBC doesn't post the running score of a football game, because they want you to stay and wait for it.

    It's why they show all those personal profiles instead of sporting events. It's why they edited the opening games. It's why we can't see live events in the US.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LostCluster ( 625375 ) *

      Nice 1994 post. Ever since Sunday Night Football moved to NBC, there's been a running score line at the bottom.

  • by MagdJTK ( 1275470 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @09:11PM (#24541563)

    While NBC may well have done what they are accused of (I wouldn't know, the BBC had it all live and unedited), it's not the most insulting thing they've done.

    They bribed the Chinese organisers of the Olympics to put certain events early in the morning (local time). The swimming starting soon is an example. Why? So they would be during prime time in America. This sound fair enough, until you realise that prime time in America is THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT IN EUROPE. So we get to miss half the events, just so it's a little more convenient for the Yanks. I mean, it's not like we invented the Olympics or anything...

  • by grantdh ( 72401 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @09:32PM (#24541731) Homepage Journal

    Sounds like the did stuff around with the order the teams marched in. They certainly had enough time to do it - it was delayed half a day from when it really happened.

    Opening ceremony was at 8pm on the 8th of August 2008 (Chinese like 8 - it's a lucky number :) and Beijing is at GMT+8. Some of the folks here in Melbourne, Australia were watching it that night live (about 10pm onwards local time). Based on the twitter feeds from those in the USA who were tweeting what they saw, it looked like they were watching it around 8pm on the 8th in THEIR time zone. Somewhat impossible, no?

    I'm already hearing reports of US swimmers being coached to refer to the time of their race in US broadcast time rather than Beijing time. Ummmmmm - WTF?

    So yeah, if you've got HOURS between recording the event and showing it then making any changes you want is a piece of cake.

  • by furry_wookie ( 8361 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @09:52PM (#24541873)

    According to friends in Europe, who watched the ceremonies live NBC totally used FAKE CROWD noise.

    Apparently Vladimir Putin from Russia got the biggest crowd applause all night when they showed him on the big screen, and the Iraq athletes were given loud BOO's.

    And all we heard all night long were the exact same levels of 'monotone cheering' on the NBC broadcast.

    Don't believe ANYTHING you see on TV, especially if they had 12 hours to make changes,edits,lies.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson