There have been a host of complaints about the NBC coverage of the Olympics. I criticized NBC during the opening ceremony on Twitter for useless banter of its hosts rather than allowing viewers to actually listen to the opening ceremony. It was yet another example of the network’s view that viewers want to hear from their celebrities rather than watch the actual news. It is obviously not appealing to viewers. Ratings are down from the Vancouver games and just even with the Torino games seven years ago. However, few aspects of the coverage hit a more angry note than the interview
The interview occurred immediately after Miller tied for the bronze medal in Sunday’s super-G. NBC has been accused of milking the story of how Bode’s brother Chilly died last year of an apparent seizure. However, what happened in the interview went beyond the bounds of propriety in the view of many people. NBC’s Christin Cooper seemed intent on getting Bode to cry and continued with questioning about his brother long after the point was made.
Miller immediately acknowledged that the win was poignant due to his brother. Cooper then took off:
Cooper: Bode, you’re showing so much emotion down here. What’s going through your mind?
Miller: (Long pause) A lot, obviously. A long struggle coming in here. And, uh, just a tough year.
Cooper: I know you wanted to be here with Chilly experiencing these games, how much does it mean to you to come up with a great performance for him? And was it for him?
Miller: I mean, I don’t know it’s really for him. But I wanted to come here and uh — I don’t know, I guess make my self proud. (Pauses, then wipes away tears.)
Cooper: When you’re looking up in the sky at the start, we see you there and it just looks like you’re talking to somebody. What’s going on there?
That did it and Miller breaks down.
It is worth noting that Miller has asked fans to lay off Cooper in Twitter.
My problem is with the cheesy coverage generally by NBC which often seems more about NBC than the games or the athletes. The network seems desperate to improve ratings but is only doubling down on its celebrity driven approach to coverage and bizarre side stories. For example, viewers have had to sit through its celebrity hosts having Russian bathes and fishing. It seems like the network cannot understand why people do not want to see and hear its hosts rather than some athletes competing.
I like the Olympics and watching these fantastic athletes. However, I have found the coverage at times so trivializing or scripted that I have turned off the games.