The New York Time wrote that Bode Miller had just tied for a bronze medal in the men’s super-G at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, on Sunday and it was time to be interviewed. NBC had already established Miller’s quest as an emotional story line, putting a microphone on his wife, Morgan, to hear her reactions to his races, and having the couple sit for an interview with Tom Brokaw. He was being humanized — as the changed man, the family man, the mature 36-year-old whose brother had died last year.
This is the type of storytelling that lubricates NBC’s prime-time Olympic engine.
This time, the engine backfired.
It was not out of bounds for NBC’s Christin Cooper to ask a medal winner questions about his brother’s death. (The snowboarder Chelone Miller died last year at 29.) It was a relevant area to pursue, part of his Olympic biography. And Miller brought it up in response to her first question, saying that he had “a lot of emotion riding” on the race.
After being asked a few more times about his brother, Miller broke down and walked about.
Nbc released a statement defending their interview with Miller:
“Our intent was to convey the emotion that Bode Miller was feeling after winning his bronze medal. We understand how some viewers thought the line of questioning went too far, but it was our judgment that his answers were a necessary part of the story. We’re gratified that Bode has been publicly supportive of Christin Cooper and the overall interview.”
Miller tweeted that Cooper was just doing her job:
So while NBC was fine with the interview and Miller was as well, not everyone was. NBC and Cooper not only took a hit from the NY Times, but Social media also was against NBC and their tactics.