From the “imagine if Fox News did something like this” file, we have NBC’s coverage of Gabby Douglas winning the gold medal, which then led into this break:
I was watching, but I’m not hard-wired to be offended by anything and everything so I didn’t even really notice it at the time… until my Twitter feed started going bat-Pelosi crazy. Many did freak about it though, and NBC apologized for the placement.
Not to defend NBC, but having done my share of work in commercial television, the spots are purchased, trafficked and placed well before anybody knows what content will be where (with certain exceptions, i.e. sponsorships, etc). The production end doesn’t usually work in concert with the business end to make sure something like that can’t happen. For example, many years ago our local newscast did a story about somebody who lost fingers in a 4th of July fireworks accident the previous year. Immediately after the story we ran an ad for a fireworks store. Whoops. But there was really no way of knowing that story would be there. The only way to be sure would have been to eliminate from the rotation any ad with any kind of potential to offend in any situation — which would have left us with zero commercials to air and, worse yet, zero billing. (Update: It’s actually a promotion for one of NBC’s upcoming sitcoms and not technically an ad, but same difference as far as blind placement)
If NBC botched anything it was by apologizing. If I ran NBC, I’d have responded this way: “It’s been brought to our attention that some found the ad that ran after coverage of Gabby Douglas winning the gold medal to be offensive. We are indeed sorry, but only for those who think black people resemble monkeys. Our staff believes black people are the same as all other people — human beings — and monkeys are primates… different genus entirely you see. Racists may draw similarities between the two, but our staff, not being racist while having a firm grasp on biology, didn’t see anything wrong with the ad placement.”
The irony here is that this happened to NBC, which provides a home for Race Hustler Central, otherwise known as its MSNBC lineup, so a good deal of NBC’s apology was probably directed at people who get a paycheck from NBC.
If anything about that clip was worthy of offense, it was Costas’ patronizing comment before the commercial.