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Television's Treatment of the Olympics: Race for the Gold

September 25, 1988

The behavior of the U.S. Olympic team at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics has been characterized as offensive and rude. Well, I wish NBC had let us watch and judge for ourselves.

NBC's coverage went far beyond offensive and rude. It was an atrocious display of Ugly American egocentrism and commercial greed. NBC allowed us only a few glimpses of the actual Opening Ceremony, filtered through inane commentary and interrupted every few minutes by the NBC peacock, sermonettes by Tom Brokaw and others and interminable commercials.

I finally got so infuriated I decided to clock the ceremony scenes and commercial interruptions for a 30-minute stretch. Between 10:45 and 11:15 p.m., NBC gave us less than 6 minutes of the ceremony and more than 24 minutes of commercials and other interruptions.

(A friend who had a satellite dish tuned to a Canadian station told me the ceremony was interrupted very briefly for only a couple of commercials.)

H.R. DUGAN

Santa Barbara

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