We’ve apparently reached the point in Rio 2016 when the media is trying to catch itself from drifting out of its lane.
Having already needing to check with its accountants and its better judgment as to what resources it has to devote to the athletes who are winning medals, lodging protests, tripping over hurdles and belly-flopping off the high dive, we now have Ryan Lochte taken every other part of Rio as a “news” hostage.
Where have you gone, Jim McKay? Replaced, apparently, by Deadspin.
NBC’s resources are pretty vast and fast in this department, and through one sector or another it can blanket this better than anyone and then construct a nifty package out of it, between those long lulls at the track stadium where another shot of Usain Bolt loitering under the stands without getting arrested.
But as the clock struck 10 p.m. during Wednesday night’s prime-time coverage, one could easily read the smirk developing on the faces of NBC’s Bob Costas and Matt Lauer, interviewing each other, as they tried to credibly report on what seems to be known about the four U.S. swimmers sticking to their stories about being robbed at gunpoint on Sunday.
Anne Thompson of NBC News got dragged into this to lay out (complete with some suspenseful background music that seemed to be taken from NBC’s “48 Hours”) on why Rio authorities had “serious doubts” about Lochte’s side of the story, which all seemed very sincere as he explained it earlier on the beach to NBC non-reporter Billy Bush (who actually helped feed him some lines in the story to repeat).
Costas, couching all this as “something that has to do with public relations as much as possible criminality,” then pulled in reporter Gadi Schwartz at the Rio airport and, eventually, Lauer, in a sequence that looked like something out of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”
Next up: Brian Williams, NBC’s Legal Obfuscation Correspondent, unless he’s still shadowing Justin Gatlin.
As a Mary Carillo’s piece on finding the real “girl of Ipanema” came a short time later Wednesday put Costas in a much better mood, NBC will stay all over this and continue to be sidetracked by this like everyone else as new information becomes available from gas station attendants.
When covering large court cases, the media often relies on a pool reporter to talk to the key people and then share it. Here, NBC is about the best pool reporter we have everything that happens outside the pool for Lochte and his pals.
Even as NBC reporters on Thursday morning were trying to recreate the “gas station incident” that has now surfaced with some computer-generated visuals.
This all seems to play into the Lochte narrative, going back to when he did a reality show called “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” and got some stellar reviews.
The water-logged truth is out there. Just don’t drown in the details. Floaties optional.
Lochte press conference looks like a sit in pic.twitter.com/tgDdaaTzlp
— Les Carpenter (@Lescarpenter) August 18, 2016
What’s worth posting now prior to our planned weekend feature: