How Much Do The Olympics Matter

I’ve really been wondering about the Olympics blackout meme, and frankly I think it’s nothing but a concoction of NBC that pundits on that network work very hard to make CW out of. And Paul Begala and Bob Shrum seem to sort of agree with me:

“I’d be campaigning like crazy,” says Clinton 1992 campaign adviser Paul Begala.

“This whole thing about the Olympics is a myth,” says Kerry 2004 campaign veteran Bob Shrum. “People don’t look at the Olympics and nothing else.”

“There are two marathons going on: one in the Olympic Games and one in the presidential campaign and I don’t think the presidential candidates can cease running their marathons during the Olympics,” Shrum adds.

Shrum admits that the Kerry campaign suffered during the period between the end of the 2004 Democratic convention and the two weeks of the Olympics before Republicans met in late August and early September.

There’s one major reason this idea makes no sense to me; no one I know obsesses over the Olympics. I can follow the medal count in the morning paper (and that’s all most people care about anyway), and I do watch a handful of events to be sure, but I don’t really care about them. There’s some good stuff to be sure, and I’ll make a real point to be one of the billions of people watching the US-China men’s basketball game tomorrow (and I’ll blog on Team USA sometime today), but I’m certainly not going to spend my afternoon watching table tennis or synhcronized swimming on Bravo. In fact, there are 2 sporting events I legitimately care about today, and neither of them, the Yankees-Angel’s game and UFC 87, involve the Olympics.