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NBC goes too far in interviews

February 27, 2014
Lake Placid News

(Editor's Note: This letter was submitted during the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, which ended on Sunday, Feb. 23.)

To the editor:

NBC's post-race coverage is getting out of hand. Making Bode Miller cry immediately after he won his bronze medal was not the first time I have been upset by their post-race interviews. It was just the worst. I am glad that Bode doesn't blame Christin Cooper. I don't believe it was her fault. It is clearly a plan by the NBC producers to elicit the most reaction at the finish line ... even when it is inappropriate.

Another despicable example was during Katie Uhlaender's interview immediately after she missed third by four-thousandths of a second. There was no need for the reporter to add insult to injury by bringing up the recent death of her father at such a distressing time.

These are not professional athletes. They are not paid contestants on a reality show. Most of them are young amateurs who have worked their entire lives for this moment and it either went very well or very poorly. These people deserve more respect.

NBC's response to the Bode Miller incident shows that they don't get it. NBC Olympics Executive Producer Jim Bell stated, "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."

There is no problem with "convey the emotion" of the athlete. That is what all the public-interest pieces are about. Personally I enjoy those. It makes the connection with the athletes stronger. But that is a far cry from accosting the athletes at the finish line at the moment their feelings are most raw. It is like accosting a person at the funeral about the money they owe you. It is poor form, and most of the world knows it.

I would like to watch the Olympic coverage and enjoy the purity of the sports. However, that is all the drama I need. These inappropriate interviews are not making me more interested but instead are making me upset. Right now I am grudgingly watching the NBC coverage; however, it is likely to affect my viewing habits in the future.

Jeff Erenstone

Lake Placid



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