COMMENTS: Shills not Fair Users

Much of the news coverage of the Vancouver Olympic Games has been confined to the broadcasting platform of the nightly newscasts. Even though NBC's Brian Williams anchored from Vancouver, only 10 of the 18 Olympic-themed reports on Nightly News during the two weeks of the Games were made available online (only one of David Muir's six by ABC and none by CBS of the six Jeff Glor filed). Presumably the problem was that the copyright lawyers at the network news divisions did not consider the stories from the Games sufficiently newsworthy to warrant fair use of NBC's sports footage online.

This raises the question: if the stories were not newsworthy enough to make the sports footage available under fair use, what were the broadcast newscasts doing running the stories in the first place? For NBC, the obvious answer is that they were not practicing journalism. They were just shilling--producing publicity and promotion for their sibling sports division.

Anyway, Monday's retroactive coverage of the men's hockey final and the medal standings by NBC's Chris Jansing was more of the same--appearing on broadcast, not available online. Instead, NBC's in-house physician Nancy Snyderman filed from Vancouver in a Personal Best feature to remind Olympic TV couch potatoes to get up and work out--at least 30 minutes a day.


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