NBC Under Fire For Bode Miller Interview

220px-nbc_logosvg200px-Bode_Miller_Hinterstoder_2011There 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.

32 thoughts on “NBC Under Fire For Bode Miller Interview”

  1. Oh my… Sickness and madness….

    Charlton,

    Have you thought about the digital wall mount TV antenna…. It’s about 25$…. I get over 40 different digital channels…. Apparently they are adding more channels….. You get all the major networks…. Plus a couple of movie channels…. And I’ve been able to watch TV shows like lassie, Dennis the menace…. No recurring bills…. No subscription fees….

  2. Aside for the horror of that interview, mindless questions which have no meaningful answers.

    Q: “What did it mean to you to win this race?”
    A: “It meant that i’m faster than all of those idiots who finished behind me.”

    Q: “How did it feel when you won?”
    A: “Better than sex, baby.”

    Q: “What was going through your mind as you crossed the finish line?”
    A: “I was thinking how goddam much my legs hurt.”

    Etcetera.

  3. I don’t think the coverage of the olympics is that good. But Christin Cooper drove me over the edge. To bad she is looking for headlines. Plenty of things to do than listen to her.

  4. Bode looked at Cooper as if to say, I don’t believe your digging.I don’t think Cooper was aware of Bode’s glare saying don’t go there.An NBC interviewer should be concious of everyones emotions.I have very little respect for Cooper.

  5. reporters/interviewers must go to special school to learn to be so crass and heartless on interviews.

    at least they do it to their own and to themselves. who can forget when katie couric lost her husband to colon cancer and she treated america to a trip into her nether regions.

  6. The young olympians are incredibly great.

    The warmongering propagandists, and the inept media, don’t seem to get the intent of these olymipic games.

    Peace.

    Burn off the excess static via winning and losing, but not nuking each other over either winning or losing.

    It is the art of diplomacy that has been lost in America because some of these ego freeks in the media are all about themselves, rather than serving the greater good.

    I have watched hours of astounding performances by these young people.

  7. My wife and I saw that interview and we were amazed that the reporter kept prodding Bode. I love watching the Olympics, but that interview was way out of bounds.

  8. My wife and I watched the Super-G race and saw this interview with Body Miller afterward. We both were appauled by the prodding of this man trying to break him into an emotional response. It was apparent from the beginning he was becoming saddened because of his brother and professionalism and human decency would have dictated the line of questioning go back to the skiing event. But instead, she humiliated him to play the angle the reporter desired. I was past deadline, so I’m glad Professor Turley wrote about it. It made me angry seeing Brody go through this.

  9. Ike warned us about the military industrial complex, but did not predict the sports-news-soap opera media complex.

  10. I don’t watch TV, but I decided to sit with my 82-y.o. mother and watch the opening ceremonies. There was first a pre-opening ceremony gabfest from which I had to get up and leave, as it seemed the main objective was to vilify Russia. Within the first few minutes, I kept hearing how (so unfortunately!) we could not escape discussing politics; how it was impossible to leave politics out of these Olympics – because, you know, Russia! My mother and I could have left politics out of it – had it not been for NBC’s commentators inserting something political with every other breath. I’m a bit of a political junky, but there are times and places where it doesn’t need to be the focus. Had the Olympics been held in a politically friendly country, I don’t imagine NBC would have had any trouble leaving politics out of it. When finally they began the (delayed) ceremony coverage, the presenters talked incessantly, which was bad enough, but the sound controllers didn’t dampen the audio from the arena, so the result was that we couldn’t catch what was being said either place. It would probably have been more enjoyable had we turned the sound off altogether.

  11. This is why most of my viewing has been limited to the Canadian channel. I can’t STAND the NBC vultures and the heavy ad coverage. Also, NBC commentators are a bunch of cats, they can’t even shut up for a second while music plays and athletes perform.

  12. The problem with Olympic coverage, as with sports coverage in general, is too many mouths paid to say something. There is no reason to have more than one announcer broadcasting an event.

    Red Barber broadcast baseball for decades without a partner and no one ever accused him of having an inane interview. This is not a coincidence. It is also not a coincidence that he is in the Hall of Fame. He said what needed to be said and no more.

    The solution is to have a twitter feed which allows viewers to contemporaneously vote on whether a particular interview is becoming stupid. If at any point in the interview a majority of the viewers responds in the affirmative, the interviewer will be immediately hit in the face with a cream pie, thereby terminating the interview. Who, you ask, should throw the pie? For the current Olympics, my choice would be Czar Vladimir, although Tonya Harding would be a nice touch, wouldn’t it?

  13. Sorry I missed it. Not!

    After the death of my wife in 2011, my daughter and I compared notes on how much TV we were watching. It came to an average of about 3½ hours per week total for the two of us. The Charter cable people won’t let us have just the half dozen channels we did watch occasionally, but insisted we get bundles of stuff we never watched at all.

    Then we looked at telephone usage. In the three months following the death of my wife, once the usual condolence calls died down, we got exactly three legitimate incoming calls. All three of those were from my wife’s younger brother, and he knows my cell phone number. There were no outgoing calls at all. We did get a number of telemarketers and political robocalls which usually came at the most inconvenient times.

    The economics of that were clear. We cut off both the telephone and cable television. We did keep the cable for the internet. That saved over $60 a month on the phone and a hundred a month for the TV. I am line of sight (literally) for the local broadcast channels. Their towers are on a mountaintop I can see from my front porch, and all of them broadcast in HD digital. However, I have not bothered to get an indoor antenna.

    So no, I have not seen any of the Olympics coverage and don’t feel I am missing a thing.

  14. My biggest complain with the Olympics is I can’t watch the USA hockey team play because I do not have NBCSN. The dirty, greedy, bast***s over at Comcast want to force us to buy a premium channel to watch the USA hockey team play.Now, I can’t watch the Philadelphia Flyers and Sixers play either because Comcast owns the rights to broadcast the teams and you either have Comcast for your TV or go unable to watch the home teams. That’s why I dropped Comcast for my TV years ago. Capitalism=Greed.

  15. True reporters and Journalists are absent from today’s scene. One of my pet peeves in general is when a reporter will comment at the end of a segment: ” people are saying…..yadda yadda. What people?
    Reporter’s opinions are not needed and I’m not at all interested in their opinion—just tell me what happened and I’ll take it from there.

    My wife and I are part of a growing demographic by not having one TV in our home. How liberating ! We also do not watch any TV news show–none. Now we both have laptops and keep abreast of the news but we get to choose our source and don’t have to listen to uniformed biased opinionated people reading what they were told to read..

  16. I loved the Olympics when I was a kid in the 60’s — they actually showed the competition then — what a concept! I haven’t watched them at all since the 90’s — even then they had jumped the shark for side-stories, vs the actual sports.

  17. If one listens to interviews by reporters, most never even ask a question. They will make a sanctimonious inane comment and then ask the interviewee if they agree. This is the norm in sports reporting and also is increasingly used in regular news reporting. The BEST interviewer I have ever seen was Brian Lamb on C-Span. There are too many for me to determine to be the worst.

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