Would those of you stateside take a break from the Synchronized NBC Bashing and spare a thought for the poor, benighted Venezuelan sports fan? State broadcaster TVes (currently dead-last in the ratings) obtained the exclusive free-to-air rights to the games. Unless you have DirectTV or go online to Terra Venezuela, you’re basically stuck with them.
I knew it would be bad, but nothing prepared me for the spectacle that followed, starting with the Opening Ceremony last Friday…
Where to begin? The lack of a decent translator for the speeches or the complete ignorance of the themes displayed at the show? The shameless politization of the broadcast by TVes president William Castillo, who fell over himself praising the comandante presidente for making it possible as though Chávez had hand-delivered the Olympic torch to the Queen of England?
No. The real pits was the El Chunior impression the TVes’s commentators put on during the Parade of Nations. Here are a couple of jaw-dropping moments on video, including a simply astonishing aside made while the delegation of Benin was entering the stadium. Seriously, not just the comment, but the little complicit guffaw the other commentator greeted it with, it was all on a level of racism that would make your racist aunt blanche.
Anywhere else, the commentator would have been fired inmediately, and possibly indicted too. Hell, in the same country it surely would’ve led to a heavy fine… if it had been on Globovision.
The criticism on the social networks was brutal. In an ironic twist, two of TVes’ sportcasters (Pepe Delgado Rivero and Cesar Diaz) worked in RCTV a long time ago. In the end, Mr. Castillo himself was forced to respond on his Twitter account and apologize.
Not content with mangling their own coverage, the public media made extra sure nobody else could cover the games decently either. Telesur (which bought the broadcasting rights to the IOC and give them to TVes) “asked” the other TV channels in Venezuela to avoid using any images of their transmissions, even for news purposes. Sport channel Meridiano TV could make a compromise and will be able to use at least 30 minutes of images daily. That has not stop the embarassment for them of sometimes using the DirecTV signal to cover some of the Venezuelan athletes. #FAIL
The rest of TVes’ coverage has been messy, switching manically between the different sports with no sense of organization or focus. They could have shared the work with another of the State channels, but they didn’t. Instead, the political tone of their work has not slowed down. The use of the term “Venezuelan Heart” is so frequent that a drinking game could come out of it but the contestants will pass out early on.
Sadly, for those Venezuelans without satellite TV or Internet, London 2012 is an ordeal to watch on TV. That’s your communication hegemony at work!Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.