The Peacock blew its opportunity to treat Olympic athletes fairly on Saturday. That’s when all eyes were focused on Matthew Mitcham, the Aussie diver who was also the only openly gay male athlete competing in Beijing. As he completed his stunning performance to take gold in the 10-meter diving competition, NBC nailed every moment of the upset.
But when it came to discussing Mitcham’s narrative, the talking heads glossed over — as in didn’t mention — his sexual orientation despite mentioning the diver’s “personal problems” that nearly halted his career. This from the network that offered repeated shots of Matthew Phelps’ mother and family throughout his record-setting quest for eight golds, NBC didn’t discuss Mitcham’s boyfriend sitting in the stands.
Oddly enough, NBC didn’t gloss over his sexual orientation (or “personal problems”) in Mitcham’s biography on its web site.
CNN, on the other hand, didn’t shy away from the “G-word” during the opening of what seems to be its around-the-clock coverage of the Democratic National Convention. Just as matter of fact as it should be treated, one of the many factoids flashing in the network’s news crawl at the bottom of the screen on Monday offered this: Six percent of this year’s delegates — or about 250 — are gay. Simple. To the point. Factual. And clearly, part of the story unfolding in Denver.
Take note, NBC.