How important was the BBC in the success of the London Olympics?

Many factors have been proposed as contributing to the success of the London Olympics. The efforts of the BBC should not be overlooked

The success of the London Olympics has been attributed to various factors which came together partly by design, partly by accident.

The BBC as a medium for state control

The British Broadcasting Corporation played its part in shaping the cultural mood in a way that was consistent with a state apparatus for controlling communications on behalf of a ruling elite.

Marxist training camps

Did I write that that stuff about BBC as a vehicle of state control? Have I become a spokesman for the neo-Marxist group known to have its training camps deep in the rolling pastures of the East Cheshire countryside? Has a fortnight of coverage of the London Olympics finally loosened my grasp of reality?

I hope not. It’s just that I have always encouraged my students to look behind the headlines. To read stories and then to look for concealed messages suggesting a different perspective.

Behind the headlines

Applying that principle, I wanted to look at the hidden story behind the widely reported one. The official story was that of the friendly games (sometimes coupled with the crying games) which had helped bring a nation together in harmony to celebrate the highest ideals of human performance and mutual respect. In the official story, criticism was brushed aside as untimely unpatriotic.

LOCOG’s fire-fighting

The London Olympic Committee (LOCOG) effectively snuffed out problems that broke out. A pre-Games failure to recruit security staff morphed into an appreciation by the public of the role played by the armed forces brought in to meet the challenge.

Complaints about empty seats petered out when members of the armed forces were re-assigned to seat-filling duties.

Cynics had a change of heart

Even the contrarian views expected from The Independent and the Guardian newspapers were overwhelmed by confessional pieces along the lines of “I was prepared to be cynical about all this, but won over by … [select from: the volunteers, the tears of joy and sorrow, the police, the cheering of the crowds, the sexiness of the athletes]. Other papers just celebrated the victories. Winning gold medals was great, but silver and bronze medal winners could make for stories of pluck and heartbreak.

The Prime Minister was a one-man political cheer leader, frequently shown shouting on Team GB to greater success. He also found time to fulfil other political duties, although reporting of these was minimal.

The BBC’s role

Then there was the role played by the BBC. Its coverage began hours before each day’s events, and was continuous until hours after the competitions had ended. There were temporarily 24 BBC channels of televised reporting. Most of its journalists seemed to be thriving on punishing schedules throughout the games, with a format of discussion, anticipation of events, interviews, background stories. Oh yes, and reporting of every competition on offer. The efforts showed the highest qualities of professionalism, motivation, and discipline. The absence of advertising breaks was mostly a blessing, but did make the challenge of continuity all the harder.

How might the East Cheshire neo-Marxist irregulars analyse the Games?

The political parties all take the same line. Mr Cameron supports the entire venture uncritically. The Queen played a now famous role in the opening ceremony to consolidate her position. Other members of the royal family were expected to be present at all the main events. [It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. Ed]

The BBC is simply following orders imposed by a dictatorial regime to manipulate the emotions of the oppressed masses. The armed forces are presented as friends of the people. This will come in useful after rule of law is enforced in the attempted right-wing coup planned to coincide with a succession crisis.

Did I write that?

Yes. But only as an example of an alternative view of the Olympics. I don’t think the BBC is state-controlled. Rather, it is an institution in symbiotic relationship with the State, including the licence fee arrangements. I have no doubt that discussions are continuing about which BBC employees will receive which awards in the New Year’s honours list, to go with those for Bradley, Jessica, Mo, and maybe even Andy.

Was it worth nine billion pounds?

The calculated cost of the Olympics works out at about the same per head of population as the annual BBC licence fee. How can anyone say that’s not value for money?

About these ads

8 Responses to How important was the BBC in the success of the London Olympics?

  1. Great post! I’m new to the blogosphere and just written my first post on the London Olympics, be great to get some feedback/followers!

  2. That’s what I like about “value for money”. it’s so elastic, standing well the test of time.

    Regarding the games, true, there is a significant portion of money contributing to the value. However, i feel that the british spirit (like in the battle for Britain) was able again to act cohesively in the pursuit towards a goal in nation’s interest (prove Romney wrong), plus volunteers’ contribution is the true differentiator that made it a success – hopefully inspiring the future game hosts.

  3. Thanks Joseph and Adrian.

    Just one thought. I like the idea of passing on more than the flame. But is there a dilemma? If the spirit of 2012 was a uniquely British cultural thing how might it play out in Rio?

  4. South-american themes around samba, carnival, tango, Che, maya, creol, rhum, mass enjoyment show for the followup games?
    But how can the leaders in charge for the Rio games face the dilemma of staging a shiny show when the favela syndrom and inequalities are likely to steal the spotlight. In UK, the charitable british spirit uniting together in face of adversity made the games, but what “would value for money” be for Rio games? Despedida Favela?

  5. Dear Joseph,

    please send me the URL of your post.

    Regards

    Tudor [Rickards]

  6. Hi Tudor,

    It’s on seereadhear.com

    Regards,

    Joseph

  7. 372785 778936Also, weblog often and with fascinating material to keep individuals interested in coming back and checking for updates. 520676

  8. 198938 684221You must join in a tournament 1st with the greatest blogs on the internet. I will recommend this internet internet site! 416

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,611 other followers

%d bloggers like this: