Wow. How Much Does Channel 7’s Olympics Coverage S-u-c-k?

August 18, 2008 at 8:01 am (Uncategorized)

After breaking a world record of our own this weekend for most hours spent lying on the couch watching the Olympics (Llew does something tricky where he tunes it through the old VCR so we can watch TV on the projector without actually owning a TV), I feel compelled to apologise to those poor unfortunates who aren’t Australian but have found themselves stuck in Australia during the Olympics. I’ve had ample opportunity to confirm the situation since last week’s almost speculative post about the coverage. Now I know it’s really happening. I didn’t just imagine it from the scant amount I’d seen. Nope. It’s real, and it’s worse than I thought.

Llew was recovering from food poisoning all weekend and I was recovering from dinner at Mike and Ben’s on Friday night, and the combination meant we blasted away all comers in the Couch Potato Final. And now I know I wasn’t just imagining the bias, all I can say is sorry chaps. It is acutely embarrassing, this refusal to show the whole program whether we Australians appear or not. I’m curious, too. Who decided Australians are only interested in watching Australians compete? EVERYONE I’ve spoken to about this, literally every single person, has said they’d prefer to get off the “Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi” bandwagon (nothing jangles my nerves quite like watching fat drunk Australians abroad bellowing out this mindless chant over and over again. How to communicate to the rest of the world that we don’t all carry a blow-up kangaroo with us at all times, nor do we smear green and gold zinc all over our faces as a matter of course…).

I can’t stand the ignorance of it. I can’t stand the fact that it breeds yet more ignorance, yet more misplaced ego-maniacal nationalistic stupidity, and yet more total delusion about our national significance to the rest of the world. I can’t stand the MEEKNESS of it, I think that’s what gets me most of all. It’s so pathetically meek. It demonstrates a really crippled capacity for global citizenry that leaves me feeling like all I want to do is flee the country for somewhere a little more secure. Oh, we’re safe as houses in many ways, but that’s not the kind of security I mean. I mean the type of security you sometimes encounter in a person or a place when you know they’re just genuinely open to otherness, they’re secure enough about their own identity, weaknesses, outright failings but also their accomplishments and positives, to be wholly engaged with the much more interesting question of what’s happening elsewhere or in someone else’s experience.

I just don’t find it very interesting to keep being told how blinding we are as sports people. Over and over again. They’re making us watch hours – hours – of boring qualifying matches in sports no one watches rather than showing ONE, just one replay of the men’s 100 m final. I know this because Llew and I watched a lot of Olympics coverage yesterday, and we had to wait until the 7 o’clock news to see the replay of Bolt’s historic win. Meanwhile 7 replayed the rowing we’d watched the day before, and kept replaying the swimming, over and over, like they’re the only things on. It’s just too stupid. Unbearably stupid. And not at all in the international spirit of the Games, or, indeed, the multicultural reality of Australian life. Are we that insecure that we can’t take the success of other nations in these Games on board? Are we honestly that sad and small and blinkered? That lacking in curiosity? That unable to celebrate every great story coming out of Beijing? I don’t think so, so I don’t understand the commercial coverage on 7 (unfortunately we can’t get SBS – is it better there? Does anyone know?), I really don’t, and I think it’s a sad indication of where we’re at, because ignorance always but always does nothing so well as beget more ignorance.



  1. Rupert said,

    Some great blogging Di.

    Channel 7 has been woeful — they have turned the Olympics into tabloid. They are an “entertainment news” channel not a sport channel. Unfortunately for us, C7’s ‘entertainment’ is pitched at those who love “Dancing with the Stars’. Their news and information content is pitched at those who rely on “Sunrise” to provide them with insight and opinion. Unfortunately for us (again) that’s a lot of Australians.

    SBS is doing a far superior job with far less content. They actually show sporting contests.

    I almost lost it last night when they didn’t show both of Anna Mears final races against her British competitor.

    iPOD’s ruining the City2Surf’s atmosphere — I agree.

  2. doctordi said,

    Thank you, Rupes, in the wake of my very bad day, I have devoured that compliment whole!

    Woeful is the word. It’s imbecilic – or ‘sub-moronic,’ as Llew calls it. I’m really glad to know SBS is doing a better job, and doubly sorry that we can’t get it here. We’ve been marvelling anew at just how terrible the commercial stations are. Because we don’t normally watch any TV at all, we’d kind of forgotten. But aside from the Australia Games, I can now tell you that the only other things on TV are ads, Dancing with the Stars, ads for Dancing with the Stars (for a real laugh, although it might quickly turn to hysteria, look at who qualifies as a ‘star’… curiouser and curiouser, said Alice…), the Simpsons, and anything belonging to the Rush Hour franchise. That’s pretty much it as far as I can tell.

    The best thing about 7’s Olympic coverage is that at least it’s not being shown around the world. It’s our embarrassing little secret.

    Maybe I’ll fill in that C2S feedback form after all… it probably won’t change anything, but perhaps they might say ‘Hey, consider leaving that iPod at home next year – this is a community event so let’s enjoy it together.’ Or they might not, but it’s worth a try.

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