The video: NBC's coverage of the London Olympics has been questionable to say the least. Now, adding fuel to the fire is a controversial video tribute showcasing the rock-hard bodies of some of the Games' finest athletes. The catch? They all just happen to be female. The eyebrow-raising reel is replete with slow-motion shots of women bouncing, bending over, stripping out of their warm-ups, and hugging female teammates over a porny soft-rock soundtrack. (Watch a version of the video below.) The network has already pulled the video, but the question remains: Was NBC's celebration of the female form sexist, flat-out dumb, or something else entirely?
The reaction: "Was the network having a contest to see which video producer could patch together the most embarrassingly juvenile highlight reel?" asks Erin Gloria Ryan at Jezebel. What's the point of "slowed-down shots of ponytailed runners jumping up and down and blowing kisses to the crowd?" Or the asses of tennis players just standing there waiting for a serve? And notice the absence of women boxing or weight-lifting. It's an "utterly contentless video," says Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress. While it might meet editorial standards at Maxim, the failure to identify any of the athletes by name or country suggests NBC thinks of them as "inanimate objects rather than people," an attitude unbefitting an actual news organization. This "illustrates the root of many of the complaints about NBC's coverage of the games: They're presenting news events as if they're entertainment." Judge for yourself: