NBC's Olympics Woes, Posthumous Outing, and More

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Friday, August 03, 2012

Criticism for how NBC is broadcasting the Olympics, the difference between venture capital and private equity, and revealing a public person's sexual orientation after death.

Why the Olympics Are Still Tape Delayed

Many TV watchers were upset this week with NBC's insistence on showing much of their Olympic coverage on a tape delay. The network didn't help matters by spoiling events they hadn't yet screened. Time Magazine TV Critic James Ponowozik explains why NBC refuses to offer the most anticipated events live.

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Real Headlines That Sound Like Onion Headlines

This Olympic week was ideal for The Onion-esque absurdity in real life. An Olympic celebration choreography malfunction left London’s mayor suspended from a zip wire holding tiny British flags. Multiple badminton teams were suspended for not trying hard enough. Each one of these stories prompts the refrain: “It sounds like an Onion headline!” We called former Onion editor Joe Garden to ask him why these real life headlines don't quite pass muster. 

Also, we're running a contest: submit your real life Onion headlines to onthemedia@wnyc.org. Best entry gets one of our glorious, glorious On Caffeine mugs

Beth Orton - (Four Tet Remix) Carmella

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The Differences Between Venture Capital and Private Equity

Mitt Romney's background at Bain Capital has become a big campaign issue. Most times, Bain Capital and Romney are grouped under the private equity banner. Other times, they're grouped under the venture capital banner. Which is it? Brooke speaks with Emily Mendell from the National Venture Capital Association and Dan Gross from Newsweek Dailybeast.

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Coming Out Posthumously

When news broke last week that Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, had died, the world learned something new about the pioneering astronaut: that Dr. Ride was in fact a lesbian, survived by her partner of 27 years. Bob speaks to The New York Times obituaries editor Bill McDonald about how much obituaries should explore the private lives of public people.

Michael Linnen - Cantus for Bob Hardison

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When Journalists Let Sources Approve Quotes

OTM recently reported on a practice in journalism known as "quote approval"-wherein reporters send quotes back to their sources after interviewing them to get the quotes approved. Bob follows up on the quote-approval story with some reaction from newspapers.

Michael Linnen - I Wanna Dance 4 U

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The Copyright Treaty That Won't Die

Over the past few years, a global pact meant to curb online piracy and the trade of counterfeit goods called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, has been negotiated in secret. After popular outcry it seems ACTA may not materialize. While 9 countries and 22 European Union member states have signed on, none have ratified it, and last month, the EU parliament roundly rejected it. Brooke asks Harvard Law Professor Jonathan Zittrain if ACTA is actually dead.

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Year Zero

In the new farcical sci-fi book Year Zero, aliens, having discovered how wonderful Earth music is, learn that they owe the all the money in the universe to the United States because of its harsh copyright penalties. Brooke talks to author Rob Reid about taking the great copyright debate to absurd new heights.

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A few months ago, Volkswagen asked to use a song by the indie-rock band Beach House for a car commercial. The band declined, but shortly afterward, a Volkswagen ad appeared with a very similar sounding song. Ad agencies that want the feel of a famous pop song, but can't get the rights, sometimes try to get as close as they can without being sued. In a story that originally aired in 2001, Bob takes a look at the nefarious underworld of soundalikes.

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