Dutch State Television (NOS) had a special prime time news bulletin of 30 minutes on a skating event in the Northern Province of Friesland, that has been cancelled because of insufficient good ice. This is seen by Dutch media as ‘a national disaster’, after them whipping up public attention and commercial expectations during the recent cold winter weeks.
De Elfstedentocht (the eleven town tour) is a 200 kilometer skating tour and competition through the Northern Province of Friesland, existing since 1909 and – only rarely – takes place, because of too soft winters. The last skating tour was held in 1997.
On wednesday February 8th the association that organises the tour called it all off, because of insufficient thickness of the ice (15 centimeter were needed ‘iceologists’ explained). This non-event was blown up beyond proportions, with five or so journlists at different spots in the Northern province telling us that nothing would happen.
Everything was so serious and exalted in the presentation of this “world news” – a life press conference on non-skating – that it managed almost to reach the level of the famous North Korean public television drama display of ‘national suffering’, though others may have thought to watch the Monty Python News.
The journalist in the middle of the picture is the senior and schizophrenic sports reporter Mart Smeets who said first (February 5th.) that the whole skating event of the Elfstedentocht was nothing more than “an abject commercial funfair” (een platte commerciële kermis) and later could not stop himself to be in the camera lime light of this ‘local world news’, even where it was nothing more than an anti–happening.
In the previous week I noticed also the NOS reporter Peter ter Velde (his name means “in the field”) well known as an embedded NATO journalist in Afghanistan, standing in front of a half frozen ditch in Friesland, with the same serious face as he puts on when reporting about the successes of the Dutch troops in Uruzgan and Kunduz in schooling Taliban fighters.
When you missed it you can enjoy it all at: http://www.uitzendinggemist.nl/afleveringen/1238898
World disasters and local misery have to wait a bit for receiving again full Dutch State Television attention, till after the Frisian meltdown.
Side effect is – once more – that we are updated on the social and political priorities of the editorial staff of the NOS Television Journal.