A pint of Olympic TV notes: Twitter trouble for the self-absorbed … who’d have seen that coming?

Day 3 of the London Olympics have finished — just not on TV yet. There’s still five hours of prime time waiting to be rehashed. Still, among the stuff we’ve come across from watching, and reading about, these events so far before we retire for the afternoon:


== A Swiss soccer player and a Greek triple jumper have already been expelled from the London Olympics for sending an offensive Twitter comment.

But neither had their Twitter accounts suspended, which is what happened to the London Independent’s L.A. correspondent Guy Adams after he tweeted out to readers that they should complain about NBC’s tape-delayed coverage — and included the email address of NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel.

“The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think!” it read, before going on to provide his corporate email address.

NBC Sports’ statement: “We filed a complaint with Twitter because a user tweeted the personal information of one of our executives. According to Twitter, this is a violation of their privacy policy. Twitter alone levies discipline.”

“If this Gary Zenkel doesn’t want to hear from the many tens of thousands of customers he upset with his network’s coverage, I think he’s in the wrong job,” Adams said in an interview with The Associated Press. “His address is not a private email address. It’s a corporate address. It’s not his private email address. It’s a corporate account. It’s company information.”

The London Independent Deputy Editor Archie Bland called the suspension heavy-handed that that Twitter had “over-reached itself and strayed into censorship were heightened” by the social media platform’s deal with NBCUniversal to be the official partner (linked here, via the Sports Business Daily).

Adams also did a column (linked here) highlighting the Twitter trend of #NBCfail messages relating to the network deciding against show the Opening Ceremonies on Friday live. It was delayed some six hours on the West Coast.

It was one of several columns we found, including those from the Associated Press’ David Bauder (linked here) and the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir (linked here) that focused on Twitter-related complaining about NBC’s coverage.

“I think almost definitely we would have done the same thing,” CBS Chairman Les Moonves told Broadcasting & Cable about whether his network would have delayed live coverage and folded it into the prime-time telecasts.

What does the sniveling Twitter reaction reveal about those watching the Olympics and sending constant messages out about their experience?

That we’re showing ourselves to be nothing but “a nation of self-absorbed whiners,” writes Monte Burke of Forbes.com (linked here).



== Speaking of the NBC channel devoted to tennis and self-absorption:.

Recovering host Pat O’Brien, who has already referred to France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as “Joel Willy Conga,” pronounced Jelena Jankovic’s last name as “Jockovic,” and made note that Roger Federer was wearing his “Tiger Woods’ red” shirt apparently unaware that players from Switzerland don red uniforms, went eight minutes into the first day of coverage on Saturday before his first real smarmy statement: “To borrow from Tina Turner: ‘What’s love got to do with it?’ Let’s all find out together (slight chuckle at his attempt at a joke) as the Games of the 30th Olympiad roll on here on Bravo.”

To borrow a phrase from Keith Olbermann as he started on his first day at ESPN2: “Welcome to the end of my career.”

Again, bravo. Encore.

Also, O’Brien can do well enough to leave the studio interviews to co-host Justin Gimelstob, who has stepped up his game with far more insight and urgency, asking questions of the guests that draw much better responses than the smarmy ways O’Brien attempted. Such as, starting an interview with John Isner that we’re not sure was really a question but a statement, O’Brien said: “We were just talkin’ about whether I would be able to return one of your serves .. .Can any human being return one of your serves?”

Short answer: Yes. Many.

Next, to the 6-foot-9 Isner: “Does heighth (that’s ‘heighth'” with an ‘h’) help in tennis? Could be a stupid question … but I think a lot of people have asked me, ‘How could this guy … you know …”

You know … what?

== As long as NBC draws ratings, they’ll continue to plug events into their stale, pre-determined template and watch advertisers get excited.

NBC says some 36 million people watched Sunday night’s coverage, consistent with a three-day average of about 35.8 million who saw Friday, Saturday and Sunday prime time. The Associated Press reports that a Tivo-based study found that the top four moments played back and watched again on NBC’s telecast were all about gymnastics. The top moment was Aly Raisman’s uneven bars performance, with an entertaining reaction from parents Rich and Lynn in the stands. (We’re guilty of rewinding it a few times as well).

== Paul Sunderland said it during coverage of the U.S.-Brazil women’s volleyball match today: “Look at the backs of the (Brazilian) jerseys .. .all the players are really famous and just like in (Brazil) football, they go by their nicknames — Paula, Jayla … it’s a play-by-play announcer’s dream. If you look at their birth certificates, it’s about five names long. So I am totally down with the nicknames.”

== Mike “Doc” Emrick, more famous for his hockey calls during the Olympics and NHL season for NBC, said it today while covering the U.S. women’s water polo match against Hungary, when Maggie Steffens scored her fourth goal: “A four-goal game. Though we would like to drag some things that are more familiar to us personally across to this, we are told that they will refer to it as a ‘hat trick’ inside the water polo circle, so we’ll just say it’s a four-goal game and it’s very impressive … and we don’t need hats in the pool.” Steffens finished with seven goals — two-plus tricks.

== A Jimmy Roberts feature on a London pub crawl? How original. Might as well as have given Guinness two minutes of free advertising.

== More common comments we’ve received so far:

= Where are Time Warner Cable’s basketball- and soccer-specialized channels? On DirecTV, they’re 751 and 752. Searching the TWC 400-level HD menu, nothing shows up.

= When is something live — as it says on the screen — and when is it really not?

That came up Saturday as viewers on KNBC Channel 4 went searching for the U.S. basketball game. Al Michaels said they were cutting to a “live” look-in at the basketball game. Problem was, the game had already ended on the West Coast (it was live in the East and Central, on one of the NBC cable channels).
Tape-delayed updates of tape-delayed coverage is the NBC signature of these Games.
You’re surprised at the absurdity?

= How about “spoiler alerts” on the NBCOlympics.com site? The AP’s Bauder (twitter.com/dbauder) said that Jim Bell, NBC’s executive producer of the games, answered one tweet from a St. Louis mom who complained about NBC’s “Nightly News” on Saturday airing results of events that hadn’t been shown on the network yet. Bell tweeted that he’d look into it, and shortly after told her that “Nightly News” would announce a “spoiler alert” to tell people to avert their eyes if they didn’t want to see results.

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