What gives, NBC?
First, Today show host Meredith Viera couldn't remember who the inventor of the World Wide Web was. Now, an NBC sportscaster has mixed up Mark Zuckerberg, one of the most important entrepreneurs of the decade, with a guy who played him in a movie.
During NBC's live broadcast of the gold-match men's basketball game between the U.S. and Spain on Sunday, NBC's Bob Fitzgerald mistook actor Jesse Eisenberg, most famous for playing the Facebook co-founder in the 2010 blockbuster The Social Network, with the actual Mark Zuckerberg. This is what Fitzgerald told TV viewers when the camera panned to the Eisenberg in attendance at the game:
I know I'm gonna put that picture on Facebook. We've got every executive of note, it seems, worldwide, attending these Games.
We can forgive Fitzgerald somewhat for the confusion: Eisenberg does look like Zuckerberg, which is why Aaron Sorkin cast him, and the camera stayed on the actor for barely five seconds. But why did the London Olympics have to both begin and end with NBC failing to identifying an important tech figure? During a segment of the opening ceremony honoring Tim Bernes-Lee, announcer Meredith Viera admitted to not knowing who the British inventor of the Web was. "If you haven't heard of him, we haven't either," she said, laughing.
However, the biggest #NBCfail of the Games was the network's tape delay on popular events like swimming, gymnastics, and track and field. NBC was blasted by critics for waiting to air some events until primetime in the U.S.
Even Twitter itself, where the #NBCfail hashtag originated, received some heat during the Olympics for suspending the account of journalist Guy Adams of The Independent after he tweeted out the email address of an NBC executive. Twitter later apologized for suspending Adam's profile and allowed him to tweet anew.
Watch NBC's Zuckerberg/Eisenberg flub (above). A better-quality video can be found at sports blog Deadspin.