NBC Responds: We Removed The Opening Ceremony Memorial To Terrorism Victims Because The Tribute Wasn't About America

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NBC finally responded to overwhelming criticism of its decision to heavily edit coverage of Friday's opening ceremony with an answer that satisfied neither American fans nor Olympic organizers. Claiming "our programming is tailored for our American audience," NBC spokesperson Greg Hughes defended the network's choice to replace the "Abide With Me" memorial performance with a Ryan Seacrest interview of Michael Phelps.

The segment's choreographer and visionary for the memorial to victims of London's 7/7 attacks reacted angrily at a press conference this weekend, being quoted by Reuters as having said: "Is it not accessible enough? Is it not commercial enough?"

As our friend Louis said over on Gawker this weekend, it's a remarkably tone-deaf response from NBC. It does, however, demonstrate exactly how NBC views the Olympics and how differently it does so compared to the rest of the world's broadcasters.


Everywhere else in the world—including places like China and Saudi Arabia—the Olympics are considered a major international news story, worthy of coverage as such and, thus, live and as uninterrupted as possible. Comparisons include the Royal Wedding (which NBC *did* show live in its entirety) or a natural disaster like a tsunami. Our editor emeritus Will Leitch says the Olympics aren't sports, but reality TV; he's right, only insofar as an American perspective goes, though. We're conditioned to think we should be fed our salad pre-tossed because that's how we've always received it; NBC has taken this liberty we've given them and used it to craft narratives that do not actually exist and to eliminate the ones they'd rather we not see.

What NBC did with the opening ceremony is, then, simply a stand-in for the manipulation they engage in with all their prime-time coverage. What you see at night on NBC's Olympic coverage didn't actually happen, but is instead an NBC-forged simulacrum of what the Olympic day was like. They recreate a sequence of events that never actually happened by using footage of things that actually did. Maybe we're okay with that, but NBC dismissing complaints of anyone who isn't okay with it is not, well, okay.

SEE ALSO: Here's The Opening Ceremony Tribute To Terrorism Victims NBC Doesn't Want You To See
Opening Ceremony Choreographer "Disheartened And Disappointed" NBC Cut His Entire Performance Out Of Their Broadcast
NBC Also Edited Out A Tribute Featuring Two Dead U.S. Servicemen From Their Opening Ceremony Broadcast


For a handy master schedule of every Olympic event, click here.