American skier Bode Miller became the oldest man to ever medal in an Alpine event when he took home the bronze in the Super G event at the Sochi Games. But it is what happened in his post-race interview that has garnered the most attention. Miller became extremely emotional while reflecting on the death of his brother Chelone last April, and NBC’s Christin Cooper continuously pressed the athlete until he finally broke down weeping for more than a minute.
“I'm so sick of the Olympic coverage on NBC. Between the holding up a dictator, Putin, the extolling of the idea of communism, or just the incipit interviews, of ‘Hey, you just lost,'’’ Glenn said on radio this morning. “But that's nothing, nothing like what they did to Bode Miller. Bode Miller just lost his brother in the last year. So it’s a little fresh… Here he is competing at the Olympics. [He’s] the oldest athlete. This is it for him. So now listen to this interview.”
The topic of Miller’s brother, who was a snowboarder, was certainly relevant to the interview, but after seeing Miller become so emotional, many argued Cooper came across as kicking the man while he was down. And NBC milked the borderline uncomfortable moment for every last drop.
Glenn explained that he had a similar experience once with CNN’s Paula Zhan. During an interview about the death of Anna Nicole Smith, Glenn became emotional (surprise, surprise) while recounting his own experience with alcoholism and addiction.
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘This woman is such a fraud.’ She's not even listening to me. She's got her own questions – or the questions that are currently being fed to her in her ear – and she doesn't care,” Glenn said. “She asked me a question about something and I said, ‘Listen, I'm a guy who screwed up my life,’ and I got emotional. All of a sudden every light went on in her… She wasn't thinking anything but good television… All of a sudden feigned this, ‘Oh, it must have been so hard. I'm sorry. I wasn't really even listening to what you were saying. So I don't know what you're crying about, but tell me a little bit more about it.’ And that's exactly what happened here.”
As you probably noticed, Cooper persistently pressed Miller once he began to show emotion. Her questions were virtually identical, but with each answer, Miller lost more of his composure.
“He's bent over now sobbing – sobbing,” Pat said. “Oh my gosh, that's amazing. No wonder people are pissed about this.”
“She doesn't even stop it. She's just like, ‘Let it roll,’” Glenn added. “What did you get out of that? We're watching people's pain. For what? What did we get out of it? Entertainment. That's it. You didn't learn anything from it. You didn't gain anything from it… Did that strike you as wrong?”
While viewers took to social media to express their outrage at the coverage, Miller’s own tweets seem to downplay the incident.
I appreciate everyone sticking up for me. Please be gentle w christin cooper, it was crazy emotional and not all her fault. #heatofthemoment— Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 17, 2014
My emotions were very raw, she asked the questions that every interviewer would have, pushing is part of it, she wasnt trying to cause pain.— Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 17, 2014
Front page image courtesy of the AP