April 04, 2006

What were they THINKING?

Switching gears to another brand of motorsports, it seems NBC decided to try and pee any goodwill they had with NASCAR right down their leg recently. In short, they were going to set up a 'sting' operation with a hidden camera and two muslim men, send them to a NASCAR event, and record any negative reactions they got.

Uh... huh.

This wouldn't have anything to do with NASCAR leaving NBC after this season, would it?

(...crickets...)

I'm not a big NASCAR fan. I watch occasionally, mostly Talladega and Daytona. I'm probably exactly like 60% of NBC's audience for races (with the other 40% being diehard fans, like Official First Reader Mallory, who is having computer problems which is why she hasn't been around recently), the casual viewer who finds NASCAR a fun way to spend an afternoon every now and again. I'm not opposed at all to going to a race if the chance happened (except for the limits placed on me by my cardiac medication, i.e. don't spend much time in the sun).

But this sting wasn't targeted at people like me, the occasional fan; it's aimed square at what NBC clearly perceives to be a bunch of drunken hillbilly redneck peckerwoods: the NASCAR fan who goes to the races.

Well, NBC, NASCAR claims to have a fan base of 75 million people. 15 million people attended races last year. Yes, I'm sure you'd be able to find the occasional racist (as opposed to race-ist) at any event that draws over one hundred thousand spectators to it.

One wonders if NBC thought to try this idea with, say, Major League Baseball? Close to 75 million people attended games last year, after all. Or how about the National Football League? Lets call it 22 million attendees, but undoubtably the most popular sport in the US right now. Both are carried (or were carried until recently) on NBC nationwide.

My guess is no, they went for what they saw to be the rural, southern, uneducated target. Guess what, NBC? According to NASCAR, only about 22% of their fanbase lives in the south. Forgive the contrived cliche accent, but y'all done gone pissed off a buncha viewers...

What were they THINKING?

(update: I realized that I didn't include where I first heard about this story. I honestly don't remember where it was, but I gather that Michelle Malkin was the first to mention it. Instapundit also has a big writeup on it, including a link to Eric McErlain's website, which has a good writeup as well. Sorry about that!)

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:14 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 I watch all the NASCAR I can get myself. What amuses me a little is that over here, of my chosen pastimes it is watching wrestling that attracts the most derision, whereas when I speak to non-motorsport following Americans, it is NASCAR that is perceived as the most redneck, the lowest of the low.

I guess the perception is tied into a whole bunch of beliefs that come from the North/South divide in the states. America likes to view itself as a classless society, but as an outsider, one gets the distinct impression of a self-proclaimed "sophisticated" North looking down on a more common South. We certainly have the same here, but reversed (London is in the South, so they have the "sophistication" over the North).

Whilst racism in all forms is abhorant, such exercises as this can be somewhat futile. Did they take a Muslim gentleman to the opera? Did they have him try and hail a cab in New York? Did they have him go a job interview for an NBC executive? Was the evenings entertainment on NBC inclusive of several Americans of middle-eastern origin on screen?

I think we know the answer to that, and as you say, they seem more concerned with projecting a cliche in one area of society, rather than changing the whole.

Posted by: flotsky at April 04, 2006 07:31 PM (6T2ID)

2 Oddly enough, I'd say that WRESTLING gets me the most mocking, over NASCAR on those occasions I'll mention either.

Posted by: Wonderduck at April 05, 2006 01:26 AM (wZLWV)

3 Yeah, I guess NBC has something against the country folk. Instead of going out into the "real" world, they target a single area such as NASCAR. Why not send them down the bronx with a sign that says "I hate ni**ers" and see what happens ?

Posted by: Jim at April 05, 2006 03:56 AM (DxLwq)

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