I first watched the Olympics on TV in 1976, when I was in the US as a graduate student, and quickly became fed up. The inane chatter of the anchors and commentators, the frequent long breaks for commercials, and the excessive focus on only showing events in which Americans had hopes of winning medals, were all annoying.
Since this was pre-internet, the TV network had control over when news would get released and they would use that power to the maximum, with misleading hyping of marquee events. The anchors would say things like “Coming up! The 100 m finals” when in reality it had been over hours earlier and they knew they would not show it for another hour or so and would fill the time with commercials, chatting by the anchors, dreary interviews, biographical clips of athletes, and, if you were lucky, some other events. I used to play a game in which I would try to predict from the words and tone of the anchor, who already knew the result, whether the American had won the upcoming event or not.
The jingoism was also relentless. Recall that in those days we had the added bonus of the Cold War and hence any event that directly pitted US athletes against those from the Soviet Union or the Soviet bloc was treated with all the solemnity of the Cuban missile crisis. Any close decision that went against the US and in favor of a Soviet bloc country was accompanied by suspicions, if not outright accusations, of cheating by the athletes or judges from that country.
Since the TV networks pay for the coverage, they have the right to do with it what they wish. My only option is not to watch and since 1976 I have never watched more than a few minutes here and there, usually when I walk into a room and someone else is watching. With the internet, I have even less reason to watch on TV. Since I do not particularly value watching things live, I actually save a ton of time by reading about interesting things that happened and later watching just those on the web.
It looks like nothing has changed and that we are back with our favorite quadrennial event of complaining about NBC’s TV coverage. Going by the criticisms, they seem to have actually got worse. Apparently this time around they have upped the number of athlete biographical stories, emphasizing those involving overcoming personal adversities, and this has led to parodies like this one.