Saturday, August 16, 2008

I don't blame CNN for spilling the Phelps beans; I blame NBC

Jason Kincaid at TechCrunch has written a post entitled CNN Fails To Include Spoiler Alert In Tweets, Ruins Olympics.

This is part of what he said:

Because many of this year’s Olympic events are not scheduled during NBC’s “primetime” coverage, they are typically taped and broadcast hours after events actually occur. CNN has unfortunately failed to account for this, and Tweeted the results of the Phelps race on its “Breaking News” account (cnnbrk) hours before it was shown on air.

Now, while I'll grant the News Corp. is enjoying the opportunity to tweak the nose of NBC Universal, I do not think that it's CNN that has the problem.

Let's say, for example, that CNN suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth. Would the Internet be free of live coverage of Michael Phelps' Olympic medal attempt? Um, no. Because the rest of the world already knows what Michael Phelps did or didn't do.

And if you think you have problems covering the Olympics because American television networks like to use tape delay, just think what American television networks do to me every day of my life.

I am typing this post in a hotel room in Louisville, Kentucky, but I normally do not reside here. I reside in southern California, which is three hours behind New York in every respect. With the exception of selected sporting events, nothing is televised live here.

Think about your average blockbuster popular television show with a season-ending episode set to televise. Or think of an average awards show, or perhaps a long-awaited musical performance.

I don't see it when it happens.

Often I couldn't care less, but if I truly wanted to be surprised by what is on television on any given night, I'd pretty much have to stay off the Internet 24/7. Somebody somewhere is going to tweet or write about what they just saw on TV, sitting in their home in New York or Indianapolis or Huntsville or Dallas.

It's time to accept the fact that all of us are able to receive information globally. Forget about the idea of tape delay. If we want to time-shift the broadcast, we have the technology to do it ourselves; we don't need Bob Costas and Dick Ebersol to do it for us.

P.S. I totally missed the fact that Kincaid agrees with CNN on this one.

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