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Did NBC Reporter Go Too Far In Bode Miller Interview?

NBC and Alpine skiing analyst Christin Cooper are facing backlash after an emotional interview with Bode Miller. Did the network cross the line?
Posted at 2:23 PM, Feb 17, 2014

Bode Miller made history over the weekend, becoming the oldest Alpine skiing medalist in Olympic history. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Christian Jansky)

But it's not that amazing feat that's drawing media attention. The 36-year-old bent over in tears during an emotional post-race interview. Some say NBC's Alpine skiing analyst Christin Cooper pushed Miller too far with her line of questioning. 

Cooper asked three questions in a row about Miller's younger brother, who passed away last year. (Via Universal Sports)

NBC and Cooper both fell under heavy criticism for that. NBC's Facebook page has been flooded with angry posts with many saying Cooper should be fired. 

The New York Times says she pushed too far. 

Fansided says Cooper badgered Miller until he cried.

And a writer for NPR called it "disgusting."

But the reaction doesn't tell the whole story. Cooper is a two-time Olympic medalist with close ties to the Miller family. As MSNBC pointed out, it was actually Bode who directed the line of questioning. 

"Bode actually brought up the loss of his brother first."

"Yes."

"And then that's where the conversation went from there and talking about that. I think Christin knows the Miller family pretty well."

And Miller rushed to Cooper's defense both during interviews with the media and on Twitter. 

Miller wrote, "My emotions were very raw, she asked the questions that every interviewer would have, pushing is part of it, she wasn't trying to cause pain." (Via Twitter / @MillerBode)

NBC had eight hours to edit out the interview, but producers chose to keep the footage when it aired in the U.S. Many are blaming NBC — not Cooper.

Other media critics are extending the discussion beyond just Miller. Some say death is being overly covered in Olympic coverage. Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times calls it "choosing emotional-point scoring above the other kind of point scoring." 

A writer for The Salt Lake Tribune agrees and said while watching the games he noticed "a disproportionately high number of mentions about death." He even createda spreadsheet documenting the number of athletes and which corresponding outlets are discussing death at the Olympics. He found the coverage went well past just NBC. 

Neither NBC nor Cooper have offered a public apology for the Miller interview. Miller is expected to compete in two more Olympic events — the giant slalom and the slalom.