Now, I don't want anyone shouting "Blasphemy!!" from the church spire and directing the local lynching mob to my location. The fact of the matter is that, well, some of this filming seems quite odd to me.
One of the most common sights in the Main Event is camera crews fishing around the pool of a table with the long rod ... I mean microphone, hoping to reel in some sort of catch of the day which they can then fillet, and sell to the public. The hitch is, many of the top poker players (with obvious exceptions) are incredibly quiet and focused people who simply don't talk that much!
Often I see players like Allen Cunningham or Erik Seidel with a TV crew crouching behind them like a pack of hyenas on the prowl. Seriously, you could put a boom mike in front of Allen Cunningham and he's like a camel in the desert - he can go days without uttering a single sentence.
Perhaps we are loathe to admit it, but the antics of Hellmuth, Matusow et al. are each a minor oasis in what is in fact a quiet, calm, focused room. They don't often break other players' concentration, but at least they provide a respite from the monotony of playing.
Poker is just long and boring much of the time. Most players are only going to be playing between 20% and 30% of their hands, if that.
Therefore it's rather baffling that the TV crews will camp by Doyle Brunson when he's not even short-stacked, waiting for him to say something pertinent, like handing down tasks to his disciples, when it's pretty clear that he's, well, kinda busy.
You could argue that these players, with the wealth and power they've gained, should be able to handle the disadvantages that a certain form of faux-celebritydom has brought them, but some players not used to the media scrutiny are cracking under the pressure.
Yesterday we saw 2007 Main Event finalist Phillip Hilm seemingly crack under the pressure of all the media attention, making what some people would call a questionable call with 4-3 after his opponent had reraised all-in on the turn. Hilm, with almost 30 members of the media recording his every move, facial tic and furrowed brow, called in a position where, in a quiet room, he'd likely fold every time.
The other major issue with the cameras, is that since the year of Moneymaker, the attraction of poker has become huge. Fields are rife with people either dressed up or afflicted with the idea that being the loudest, most obnoxious person in the room will get them their 15 seconds of fame to dance around like an idiot.
The problem with such a modus operandi is that it actually works. A couple of days ago, a guy bawled from the top of his lungs that he was all-in and how great he was and demanded the cameras turned up to watch him. Sure enough, they did as told, and he got a little period of being filmed where he sat, pretty much good as gold, another happy puppy getting its belly rubbed.
These examples are the two extremes that are due to the presence of filming, I'm not saying the filming isn't necessary; it's just that the consistent focus on certain well-known players and the propensity to follow total idiots is not going to help poker.
The best way to solve this is to find a happy medium. Home in on key hands, and keep the bread and circus to a minimum, using it with a light touch just to spice up the proceedings. This might be harder work, but it would surely be more rewarding for poker fans viewing the footage, and less damaging to those with 10 large on the line.