Today’s controversy: NBC reporter brings Olympian to tears by badgering him about his late brother

posted at 11:21 am on February 17, 2014 by Allahpundit

I can’t believe it’s news either, but apparently this is what We As a Nation are talking about today. Try googling “Bode Miller” and “Christin Cooper” and see what you get.

Clearly she and NBC wanted to see tears — the Olympics is famously 10 percent sports and 90 percent backstory — but she wasn’t rude about it. Judging from the volcanic outrage on Twitter after it happened, you would have thought she’d held up a photo of his brother’s headstone and said, “How’s this make you feel, huh?” Miller himself thinks it’s much ado about nothing:

“I have known Christin a long time, and she’s a sweetheart of a person,” Miller told Matt Lauer on TODAY Monday. “I know she didn’t mean to push. I don’t think she really anticipated what my reaction was going to be, and I think by the time she realized it, it was too late. I don’t blame her at all.”…

“I feel terrible that she’s taking the heat for that because it really was just a heat-of-the-moment kind of circumstance,” Miller said. “I don’t think there was any harm intended. It was just a lot of emotion for me. It’s been a lot over the past year. You sometimes don’t realize how much you can contain that stuff until the dam breaks, and then it’s just a real outpouring.”

“My emotions were very raw, she asked the questions that every interviewer would have,” he tweeted afterward. “[P]ushing is part of it, she wasnt trying to cause pain.” Some of the upset is due, I suspect, to people thinking Cooper steered his thoughts to his brother when they weren’t already there. Not so: Miller told Lauer in another interview that, unusually for him, his mind was on his brother before yesterday’s race. In fact, as you’ll see, he was the one who brought it up in the interview. By the time it was over, all it took was a nudge, not a shove, to get him to crumble.

Note that the clip, which aired last night, was taped much earlier in the day. If NBC had any problem with it internally, it didn’t stop them from dropping it into primetime. Coming soon, presumably: NBC gets Russian Olympians to share their most harrowing tales about living in Putin’s authoritarian state. Ha, no. Kidding. No way. Click the image to watch.

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This is the kind of sh*t that happens when the networks focus on the “human interest” story instead of the competition itself.

The problem is that much of the competition isn’t compelling for a lot of the country, especially when Americans aren’t competing. There’s little black presence, little or no Hispanic presence.

I’m sure winter sports are great fun for participants, and for spectators as well in some live venues. But watching cross-country skiers from Russia, Norway and Latvia go at it on TV? C’mon.

The networks also do a lousy job of educating the audience. Just why is that triple-Axel-double-Lutz-Salchow-what-am-I-talking-about something special? Golf broadcasting is all over this kind of stuff, and that’s a sport many more of us have some familiarity with.

bobs1196 on February 17, 2014 at 1:47 PM

Zomcon JEM on February 17, 2014 at 1:43 PM

I read your post twice – I agreed the first time – and the second time

jake-the-goose on February 17, 2014 at 1:47 PM

Bmore

Schadenfreude on February 17, 2014 at 1:48 PM

I literally cannot stand that type of “reporting”. One question–that’s it. Don’t ask the same question repeatedly in a blatant effort to get them to cry on camera. Why do they think it’s a good idea to repel the viewer so?

juliesa on February 17, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Exactly, we all know they have feelings like any of us. We expect that he is grieving and respect his personal life. Who wants to watch a grown man bawl like a baby after tying for third place? Just keep the focus on the games themselves. The networks want to drag it out to sell more ads.

ezspirit on February 17, 2014 at 1:50 PM

portlandon on February 17, 2014 at 1:34 PM

This isn’t sport – half the events are judged.

It is a media event. Why not have Dan Patrick? It’s not a sporting event anymore. Figure skating, slopestyle, moguls, half pipe, ski jumping? All judged on beauty.

This doesn’t diminish the skill of doing this – I would kill myself if I tried these things. But a beauty pageant is a beauty pageant.

At least there are some events – like sleds going down tracks, which they never show enough of in my mind. Cross country and down hill skiing judged by a clock, and a few other timed events (speed skating) at least give us something worth watching.

Zomcon JEM on February 17, 2014 at 1:51 PM

NBC gets Russian U.S. Olympians to share their most harrowing tales about living in Putin’s Obama’s authoritarian state

Fixed it fro you, AP.

bw222 on February 17, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Zomcon JEM on February 17, 2014 at 1:51 PM

My husband agrees that the judged competitions are less interesting to him.

ezspirit on February 17, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Bode doesn’t think it’s a big deal, so why do we?

Aren’t we the group that complains when liberals take offense on a groups behalf? So why should we be offended on behalf of a man who already said he’s not offended and that he’s friends with the person asking the question?

Personally, I’ve enjoyed seeing the growth of Bode Miller the last couple of Olympics. Yeah, he wasn’t perfect, but who is. And to see that reaction, knowing what he’s gone through, seeing him come out and leave it all on the mountain and still leaving being the oldest Alpine athlete to medal…well good for him.

nextgen_repub on February 17, 2014 at 1:55 PM

No, sir, I didn’t like it.

ezspirit on February 17, 2014 at 1:55 PM

And I would defend the mic-ing of Bode’s wife. Having had the privilege or horror – perhaps it was both – of having children who excelled in timed sports, I can remember that question – “Is it fast enough?” And then counting how many more competitors, strong ones, had to go before you knew if your kid’s effort was enough to place a medal.

I liked it, sure it is the Olympics and these are adults. Still – an interesting look.

Zomcon JEM on February 17, 2014 at 1:58 PM

When will they ask Barack about his illegal alien aunt? One of half-brothers living in that hut? The ghetto Valerie Jarrett presided over?

SouthernGent on February 17, 2014 at 1:59 PM

This is dumb. Move on, media.

The agony of da feet?

Fleuries on February 17, 2014 at 2:05 PM

They made a bobsledder review his whole run and critique himself.

ezspirit on February 17, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Yeah, I noticed when the had skeleton competitor Noelle Pikus-Pace do the same. They go, “how’d you handle this part?” … “Like I’ve trained to do.” … “How does that make you feel?”/

It would be far better if it was, “Can you explain to the audience some of the hard parts of this event and how you have trained to excel past them?”

In my mind, the coverage of the Olympics should really be to encourage the youth of the world to become great at something, be it a sport or some other discipline. That is why they always mention welcoming the youth of the world to the Olympics in the ceremonies. Make the coverage interesting to that audience. Don’t jabber at emotionally charged athletes to complete the sob story you set up with your montages prior to the event.

End rant.

Effay5 on February 17, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Barry Sobel: Buck Jackson’s Mother Died.

hawkdriver on February 17, 2014 at 2:10 PM

“I make my living off the evening news
Just give me something
Something I can use

She can tell you ’bout the plane crash
With a gleam in her eye

- Don Henley”

Four of us watched and all caught it at the same time – the third time she pushed. Yep, it was disgusting.

Tsar of Earth on February 17, 2014 at 2:21 PM

I watched it live and didn’t think the reporter did anything wrong, the sad truth is that some people just like to gin up the internet mob and have themselves a lynchin’, any excuse to gin up the mob will do and this was just the latest excuse.

clearbluesky on February 17, 2014 at 2:35 PM

I watched the interview as it was being shown originally, and I thought the reporter was waaaay out of line. Pressing Bode on his emotions was uncalled for and uncomfortable to watch. clearbluesky, above, probably thinks it’s appropriate to fart at the dinner table …

Whitey Ford on February 17, 2014 at 2:50 PM

What I think is worse than the questions is that the camera continued to stay on him after he walked away. He obviously wanted privacy. Even someone on the other side of the barrier was waving at the camera man to stop. NBC could and should have cut away.

behiker on February 17, 2014 at 1:37 PM

I agree. The camera staying on him for so long, (read somewhere it was 75 secs) crouch down against the barrier crying was horrible and pointless to show. The interviewer should have stopped after the second “please cry” question and then just cut away as Bode walked away and used that time to interview or talk about Weibrecht. . NBC = Nasty Bunch o Crap

PeskyPuddyTat on February 17, 2014 at 3:09 PM

clearbluesky, above, probably thinks it’s appropriate to fart at the dinner table …

Whitey Ford on February 17, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Oh my, good to know your indignation doesn’t extend to personal insults, enjoy your hypocrisy.

clearbluesky on February 17, 2014 at 3:31 PM

I miss Jim McKay and the whole Roone Arledge era of ABC Sports coverage.

SicSemperTyrannus on February 17, 2014 at 3:35 PM

I miss the time when the Olympics were about the sports. Reporters didn’t push for tears.

Mark my gender on Facebook as retro sexual male…… Men who don’t wear onesies and hold Obamacare sleepovers.

Happy Nomad on February 17, 2014 at 3:47 PM

No sniveling!

claudius on February 17, 2014 at 3:57 PM

give me a break — our emotions are our own — no one can MAKE us cry or experience any emotion — another tempest in a teacup — get a life, folks

loveyouall on February 17, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Amazing…after about 8 years of posting on here, I still once in awhile find a post that just makes me shake my head.

The naivete of some just absolutely stuns me at times…or it just suggests some people have not lived many experiences in life.

I hope you never have to face a loss that Bode has faced…but you will…I am sure you will have complete control of your emotions. My, my…

right2bright on February 17, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Now, when you are the target

Oh my, good to know your indignation doesn’t extend to personal insults, enjoy your hypocrisy.

clearbluesky on February 17, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Then, when someone else is the target:

the sad truth is that some people just like to gin up the internet mob and have themselves a lynchin’…

clearbluesky on February 17, 2014 at 2:35 PM

…you do see the irony don’t you? Naw, you won’t…

right2bright on February 17, 2014 at 4:35 PM

…you do see the irony don’t you? Naw, you won’t…

right2bright on February 17, 2014 at 4:35 PM

Sure don’t, feel free to show me where i directed my comment at a specific person, i’ll wait……

clearbluesky on February 17, 2014 at 5:02 PM

right2bright on February 17, 2014 at 4:35 PM

Oh, and apparently i have to point out that i wasn’t offended by the reporter, hence my comment about hypocrisy, will you understand why i’m pointing that out? Naw, you won’t…..

clearbluesky on February 17, 2014 at 5:06 PM

NBC and it hired help are scum.

rplat on February 17, 2014 at 5:21 PM

Mr Miller is just being a gentleman, here, but the reporter/network is wholly to blame for this entire incident. She absolutely refused to take his tight-lipped attempts at Stoicism and kept rephrasing her impertinent question time and again until she got the dog and pony show she/they wanted. Jim McKay would have quit on air if they had even thought about making him badger someone like that.

Knott Buyinit on February 17, 2014 at 5:57 PM

give me a break — our emotions are our own — no one can MAKE us cry or experience any emotion

loveyouall on February 17, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Well, I’m glad you have complete control over yourself! As for the majority of people, well, us mere mortals are affected by the world around us and sometimes can be caused to emote by the actions of another person.

For example, I tear up every time I see the end of Captain America, the part where Steve is about to crash the ship and he’s talking to Peggy one last time. I get really agitated when someone is telling a big lie with a straight face. I cry at the funeral services of loved ones, even when I don’t think I will, don’t want to, and try not to. And I get angry when I witness bullying.

Do I have to experience these emotions? That depends on how you define “have to.” The real question is can I control it. The answer to that is that I’ve tried, with only limited success. It seems to be part of who I am for my emotions to respond a certain way to certain external stimuli. Can you honestly say that you control everything that goes on inside your head?

On the Bode issue, it seems to me like it would be common sense, or at least common decency, that if you know something is a sensitive subject for someone, you might stay away from it when conducting an unplanned interview (as opposed to the planned story they did before the race).

Our household was not amused by the reporter’s tactics. But it’s only the latest in a loooooong line of bad journalistic practices by NBC.

(Sorry for the essay. My tendency for long responses also seems to be something over which I have only limited control!)

Cheshire_Kat on February 17, 2014 at 7:21 PM

On Cavuto today, Eric Boling said he had no problem with the reporting. He said he thought the media is way too soft on athletes. So Eric, are reporters way too soft on reporters? Who polices this, reporters? Do the mike and camera substitute for moral values? I guess Ms. Cooper lost out on interviewing victim’s spouses on 9/11! “Mr. Miller, How did you feel when you saw the building collapse with your wife inside?”

essequam on February 17, 2014 at 8:25 PM

I watched the interview as it was being shown originally, and I thought the reporter was waaaay out of line. Pressing Bode on his emotions was uncalled for and uncomfortable to watch.
Whitey Ford on February 17, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Same here. It was hard to watch and I found myself yelling “back off.” They may as well have had Barbara Walters interview him.

TxAnn56 on February 17, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Hmmph, looks like Christin Cooper was an Olympic skier back in the day. Yes it seemed like she was badgering him, and it was uncomfortable to watch, but they both did ok. No big deal.

That said, I would have cried like a ten year old girl, then would have been mortified into catatonia for bawling on TV, and would still be fantasizing about gouging Cooper’s eyes out with a ski pole.

justltl on February 18, 2014 at 1:42 AM

Well, Rush got it all wrong. Since he idolizes athletes, he should have observed some of them. A ritual of patting Bode on the shoulder followed. None had the right to participate in that ritual except his equals. They wouldn’t do that for a cry-baby — a man can cry publicly among his peers when they see he is justifiably overwhelmed.

In his moment of glory, he was thinking of his brother. Then some whacked-out reporter had to twist the knife for the camera. Yeah, baby, you approach Bode with that knife, go for his guts, and twist.

And they wonder why journalism is held in such disdain.

Feedie on February 18, 2014 at 5:25 AM

Try googling “Bode Miller” and “Christin Cooper” and see what you get.

Well, I don’t use the NSA, I mean google for anything.

This was a tasteless & rude insult to Bode Miller, . period.

My expectation of NBC has only been topped by msnbc.

bluefox on February 18, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Bode is the one who brought up his brother in the interview. The reporter assumed he wanted to talk about him. Guess he didn’t…much.

Buttercup on February 18, 2014 at 12:28 PM

This isn’t sport – half the events are judged.

Good point. Most are judged or races against the clock, which I find much less interesting than team sports or real races for the finish line with multiple competitors, as in track/field.

Missy on February 18, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Cooper has known Miller a long time. I’m sure she felt bad about fomenting the reaction on his part. I am not disturbed by that, but by the fact that NBC went ahead and showed it on worldwide TV 10 hours later, when they could have understood the sensitivity of the situation and left it out of the broadcast. It wasn’t live, it wasn’t necessary for everyone to share Bode Miller’s pain.

Pop quiz. Would they have kept that moment in the broadcast if the athlete had been Russian?

Freelancer on February 18, 2014 at 8:22 PM

Just more BS from a so called reporter that thinks after I act like an a**hole all I need to say is I’m sorry.

mixplix on February 20, 2014 at 7:40 AM

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