And so we moved on to Day One of competition, with high-hopes for a golden start in the Road Race. As it turned-out, that wasn’t to be, the result of which was the first reflected glint of light from the sharp tips of the BBC’s fangs.
Not from the Olympic Sports presentation which, with the possible exception of a certain ex-England striker-turned-pundit, is sympathetic to the joys and sorrows of sporting endeavour – probably because the majority of them have themselves “been there and done that.” Unfortunately, there are two strands of BBC coverage, and the other one, the 24-hour news part, is already bristling with negativity.
Poor Mark Cavendish, having spent six hours in the saddle with no return, was tired and emotional enough, yet still managed to face the assembled media and praise his team-mates for sacrificing their efforts to his cause. What he didn’t need was some tainted BBC hack to then shove a microphone up his nose and ask whether his failure was due to tiredness after the Tour de France. His coach pulled him away as he responded: “stop asking stupid questions, do you know anything about cycling?” Had I been the coach, I might have let him do what he obviously wished to with that microphone – it would at least have removed one vulture from the tree. The summing-up at the end of his “piece” by David Bond, yet another cretinous so-called “Sports Editor” that the BBC has promoted beyond any possible journalistic ability, was: “But such is the level of expectation on the whole of Team GB at a home games that difficult questions will continue to be asked if the medals don’t start rolling-in.”
Whoa there Trigger! Just a few hours into these games, what has happened to the Olympic Ideal? You know, the bit about it not being the winning but the taking part. The bit that, just hours earlier, Lord Coe had been expounding to the World from the dais in front of England’s green and pleasant tree-topped hill, adorned with flags of the 204 competing nations, including the Union Jack. Or did you miss that bit because you were too busy pre-compiling your cynical negativity in the hope that failure would come quickly to our team – oh, and that would be your team as well, unless the BBC News Department has declared unilateral independence of its mother country, and the licence payers that pay their wages.
Further demonstrating that security has been so-enhanced at TV Centre that only negative viewpoints are allowed in during the next couple of weeks, Fiona Bruce continued, scowling as she looked disgustedly down her nose into the camera: “Team GB hopes were also dashed in the pool when swimmer Hannah Miley came fifth in the 400m medley” followed by a flick of the head to emphasise her disgust at this blatant lack of fulfilment of promise. Yet, as Hannah herself described in her interview, she had given her all and improved one place on Beijing. What more can you possibly ask of anyone, than to improve on what they have previously-achieved? But then, I’m not sitting comfortably in an air-conditioned studio reading from a teleprompter over morbid drumbeats, having had to do little other than avoid tripping over cables to get there.
But it was not just Team GB that came in for criticism. It was gleefully reported that Michael Phelps has also now become a failure. Just a quick reminder – that’s the Michael Phelps who won a total of fourteen Gold Medals at the last two Olympics. But this time, in his first final of these games, he could only manage fourth – not even a Silver or Bronze as he was beaten by someone who was only the current world champion. In another triumphant, but obviously prewritten, summary presented live and with a smug grin by the BBC’s olympics correspondent James Pearce (is there nobody in BBC news without a pretentious title?) as the swimmers touched home, we were told: “In Beijing Phelps was unbeatable, in London he has lost in his very first event.”
To these journalistic legends-in-their-own-minds, fourth in the world in an Olympic event may be failure, how on earth would they know any different when viewing the world from their myopic, gossamer-lined cocoon? But there are millions of people out here who would trade almost anything for sufficient ability in any discipline to be allowed to pull-on a shirt emblazoned with their country’s flag and simply try to reach a final. Those that are lucky-enough to achieve that, from whatever country they have travelled to be here, and regardless of their previous achievements, deserve more from a public service broadcaster, especially the one that claims to be the finest in the world.
To be the finest in the world, you first have to prove that you are capable of living-up to that accolade. Right now, as a news presenter, all the BBC is demonstrating is that it is incapable of getting beyond the qualifying rounds.
© 2012 CepenPark Publishing Ltd except for linked images hosted on third-party sites.
For image source details hover over the image or click on the image to visit the host site.