A response to Michelle Beadle’s response to the griping about NBC

I kept off Twitter most of the day yesterday, because I didn’t want the results of the tape-delayed Olympic women’s gymnastics competition to be spoiled for me. I avoided sports Web sites, too.

By the time the broadcast had begun, the results had been spoiled for me in the following ways:

  • A post on Facebook.
  • A Google search for “Olympic gymnastics TV listings” that turned up a headline that read “U.S. gymnastics good as gold.”
  • A tweet, sent directly to me in response to my own tweet asking when the gymnastics was  on, saying, “You mean the one where the U.S. won gold?”

At some point yesterday, Michelle Beadle, who works for NBC now, sent the following tweet:

The amount of whining about tweeting results has become utterly comical. It’s quite simple. Stay off sites giving information. Ex: Twitter

With all due respect, Michelle, it’s not simple. It’s actually quite complicated. I can see how this is easy for you to say, since you’re in freaking London. But what you’re asking the rest of us to do, essentially, is to stay off the Internet for two weeks. I couldn’t even search for the TV listings without having the results spoiled for me TWICE. Let me reiterate: GOOGLE was not a safe place to be. Google.

You’re asking me to change everything about the way I receive information for two weeks or stop complaining. That’s comical.

There is a good defense for NBC’s tape delays, but “just stay off the Internet” isn’t it. You know what it is? I’ll tell you.

“Our ratings are at an all-time high.”

Boom. Done. The end.

I have no comeback to that. NBC is in the business of attracting eyeballs to its programming, and it is doing that better than ever before. Sucks for me that this is working, but I can’t reasonably expect NBC to fix something that isn’t broken. My only response would be an appeal to empathy. Won’t you think of the Internet peasants?

But come on. It is not ridiculous to complain about having sporting events spoiled. The best thing about watching sports is being in the moment with them, and if you’re the kind of person who uses the Internet in 2012 — AND I’M GUESSING YOU ARE — you stand a really good chance of losing that.

And you’d think it was ridiculous, too, if it were happening to you.


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