The Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics is underway. But if you’re in the U.S., you’ll have to a wait a couple more hours to see the broadcast on NBC. The Openings will still be going on when “Nightly News,” with Brian Williams in London, and the other evening newscasts go on the air at 6:30pmET. As NBC has the rights to the games, you can bet you’ll see more coverage tonight, and for the next two weeks, than on their competitors.
The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi breaks down the numbers of how past Olympics have been covered differently by the News divisions of NBC, which as the rights, and ABC and CBS which don’t. One critic calls what we’re about to see on NBC “shameless cross promotion.”
“There’s no journalistic fig leaf to hide behind,” says Andrew Tyndall, the publisher of the Tyndall Report, which tracks the network news business. “It’s free advertising for the prime-time programming.”
NBC’s VP of newsgathering David Verdi disagrees: “You might see a little more coverage [of the event] on our broadcasts,” he said. “We’re proud of it. It generates greater interest in the news,” adding “if the question is, is our editorial process corrupted by an event like this, then the answer is no. We use the same editorial checklist to determine coverage [of the Olympics] as we would for any news event.”