If there’s any doubt that NBC and all of its various tentacles were in the tank for Barack Obama, that doubt should have evaporated with Dick Ebersol’s appearance this morning on the MSNBC “Morning |Joe” program. Ebersol is the top mahout for all of NBC sports and is in a position of such power that even presidents might envy.
Ebersol told hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brezinski that he was present at the IOC meeting in Copenhagen when the Olympic voting occurred. As you might expect, Ebersol acknowledged he was long acquainted with and had often spoken with many of the IOC’s 110 voting members. The word he was getting, according to the NBC sports chief, was that Rio was likely to win in the Olympic hosting competition. Rio was a done deal, Ebersol implied, as if intelligence and groundwork never factored in to the U.S. bid. It was a well-oiled appearance, slick and subdued as a Marseilles pimp who worked the upper end of the sex and money culture.
After all the effort and money put into the U.S. Olympic bid, losing it in such grand, public fashion is flatly embarrassing to the U.S. The president didn’t have to go after the Olympics; it was good enough that he spoke up for his adoptive Chicago hometown. Barack Obama didn’t have to go there with an entourage which included Oprah Winfrey and Dick Ebersol, and other notables. That was a ball you don’t throw unless you’re certain the right people will catch it. The interception of Obama’s forward pass, by Brazil, provided an excellent opportunity for international embarrassment.
Okay, it was only a game, you could rightly say. But if it was only a game, then it wasn’t worth the president’s time; it wasn’t worth America’s time, especially right now when there are other obvious priorities.
Getting back to Ebersol, there’s a ready-made narrative to explain the Obama blunder, and this creative narrative was apparently beyond the capabilities of Jarrett and Axelrod and Rahm Emmanual to construct. The job could only go to the Delta Force of NBC media sports spin, Dick Ebersol. The objective, obviously, is damage control for the inexperienced and naïve president who had fooled all of Chicago and much of America into thinking that Chicago’s hosting of the Olympics was a fait accompli.
Ebersol’s narrative line today on MSNBC was that Michelle, Barack, and Oprah nearly rescued America from corrupt international Olympic figures. Ebersol said, in essence, that Chicago never had a chance anyway because the IOC was filled with a phalanx of old coots who opposed traditional U.S. sponsorship of Olympic sport. Ebersol told his hosts that the United States Olympic committee could also be blamed and mumbled his way through a litany of reasons for doing so.
Part of the international resentment against America’s bid, according to Ebersol, stems from a diminished reliance on big money U.S. sponsorships of events. Yes, folks, it’s no secret that the Olympics is more about advertising for American companies than it is about amateur athletics. Currently, international sponsorship has increased at the same time U.S. corporate sponsorships have lost “market share,” if such a term may be used.
Let’s now play “Connect the Dots,” and color in the portion of the Obama administration that is owned by NBC’s parent corporation, General Electric (GE). GE is not only the parent of MSNBC but it’s the owner of a myriad of NBC network television and communication offerings. GE is certainly Dick Ebersol’s boss, and GE also most likely provided the corporate inspiration for Ebersol’s creative storytelling on this morning’s MSNBC program.
But why would GE and its television company offspring be interested in cleaning the blackboards of the Obama administration in its failed and highly embarrassing Olympic bid? Money. Connection. Power. Politics.
GE and President Obama cosied up early on when Obama was campaigning, and it wasn’t for nothing that Obama later appointed Jeff Immelt, GE CEO, as one of his economic advisors. Moreover, GE has put forward the notion that it wants out of the consumer product business in order to get in early and deep with President Obama’s environmental initiatives. It would seem to have done so with the Immelt economic advisor appointment; Immelt is a close friend and business associate of another Obama economic team member, Larry Summers.
GE produces wind turbines, operates nuclear electric generating plants, and is in the process of re-branding itself as a responsible environmental partner to the government-private sector partnership. GE also does business with Iran. In short, GE is Obama’s Halliburton, except that GE wants you to believe that its motives are purely altruistic, though GE’s financial services arm was propped up by the administration’s bank bailout initiative.
None of that is illegal, but the news serves democracy best when it is out in the open and above board. The sudden and surprising appearance on a GE owned cable news show of one of America’s most important and busiest sports executives stands out against all credulity as a sign that the partnership of GE and Obama want you to believe in (let’s see….how can I say this without being censured in Congress?) an “opposite truth.”
Had the Obamas managed to bring a U.S. win home from the IOC, General Electric would have scored a major coup in promoting its “partnership” with government. Its NBC television subsidiaries would have carried the news to all the far corners of the earth, a message of “hope and change” which put additional billions into GE corporate profits and guaranteed free political ads for the Obama administration.
Sources: Live broadcase of MSNBC’s Morning Joe program.
USAToday online at : http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/2009-10-04-chicago-failed-bid_N.htm