NBC has received plenty of criticism for its decision to cut a tribute to victims of terror from the Olympics opening ceremony broadcast in the United States. The half-assed explanation offered, however, is likely to cause even more outrage.
Yesterday, NBC spokesman Greg Hughes offered only this: "Our programming is tailored for the U.S. audience. It's a tribute to [producer] Danny Boyle that it required so little editing."
It's a remarkably tone-deaf response that seems to suggest American audiences would not be interested in the tribute. While many have said the segment specifically honored victims of the British terror attacks on 7/7, it was also a "wall of remembrance for those no longer here to share in the event."
And even if the focus were limited to the U.K. act of terrorism, which claimed 52 lives in 2005, could the tribute really be deemed irrelevant for not highlighting an American tragedy?
That may not have been NBC's intention, but without a more thorough explanation, it doesn't look good. USA Today suggests that NBC "didn't see lingering on that as helping its overall marketing effort." That's only slightly less offensive than the conclusion Daily Kos draws, as articulated in this analogy:
Can you imagine the BBC opting to cut out a tribute to 9-11 at a future Olympics held in the States because it wasn't "tailored for a UK audience"? If that happened, suffice to say the switchboards at BBC Broadcasting House would have blown a fuse.
Again, it's unlikely NBC had that much foresight, but the ignorance is just as damning.
Meanwhile, choreographer and dancer Akram Khan is appropriately "disheartened and disappointed" that NBC cut the entire segment from its broadcast. As reported by Nicholas Wolaver, Khan's partner Farooq Chaudhry said, "It's disgraceful U.S. media could make that decision and [I] would like to know why." (CORRECTION: This quote was previously attributed to Wolaver, the blogger who conducted the interview.)
So far, NBC's answer has done nothing to appease.
[Image via AP]