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NBC Reporter Hit with Criticism for Interview That Reduced Bode Miller to Tears: VIDEO

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NBC reporter Christin Cooper was hit with a barrage of criticism after a line of questioning to U.S. skier Bode Miller about his brother Chelone, who died of a seizure in April. Cooper's questions seemed to intensify once she saw Miller was getting emotional.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times said the interview lacked sensitivity, Linda Holmes of NPR called it "disgusting," and a number of viewers voiced their outrage on Twitter.

Miller later tweeted:

"I appreciate everyone sticking up for me. Please be gentle w christin cooper, it was crazy emotional and not all her fault. #heatofthemoment ... 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."

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

UPDATE: Miller continued to defend Cooper on the Today show:

"I feel terrible that she's taking the heat for that because it really was just a heat-of-the-moment kind of circumstance,'' Miller said. "I don't think there was any harm intended. It was just a lot of emotion for me. It's been a lot over the past year. You sometimes don't realize how much you can contain that stuff until the dam breaks, and then it's just a real outpouring."

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Comments

  1. He's being generous with her.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Feb 17, 2014 8:42:48 AM


  2. I was watching it live and the repirter was way out of line. Bode Miller was fine until she started pushing in a bald faced, manipulative way. When she finally broke him, she gave him this insincere pat on the arm to "comfort him" and then moved on to her next interview, leaving him breaking down in the snow by himself. It was ridiculous and Miller--who has incidentally been one of the few athletes to speak up directly about the anti-gay laws in Russia, criticizing them before the Games even began--didn't deserve that.

    Posted by: BreckRoy | Feb 17, 2014 8:45:16 AM


  3. Yeah, Miller is a class act in that statement (as he was when he unabashedly called Russia's anti gay laws out in pre-Olympic interviews) because what that woman did was disrespectful and indefensible. I am sure she was just following her reporter's instincts to get "good TV" but a true professional knows when to stop and think like a human. My boyfriend and I were screaming at the TV for her to shut up and leave him alone last night. She was marring his Olympic achivement that night in so many ways. We were so disgusted.

    Posted by: LuckyLinden | Feb 17, 2014 8:48:45 AM


  4. Way to give him some dignity wow.

    Posted by: Jeff | Feb 17, 2014 8:51:54 AM


  5. The director should be catching flack for this too, not just the reporter. Keeping the camera on him as he collapses in tears. Trying different camera angles of crying Bode. Jesus.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Feb 17, 2014 8:57:56 AM


  6. Cooper should be fired and so should the director.

    Posted by: Andrew | Feb 17, 2014 9:06:04 AM


  7. The NBC Olympics live for this kind of emotional human interest story. Bode could have easily just said thanks and walked away.

    Posted by: Billy | Feb 17, 2014 9:07:13 AM


  8. It was a disgusting display of the worst of journalism. Her job at that point would be to focus on the American Silver Medal winner, Andrew Weibrecht, a long shot, ask about the technical aspects, maybe some first thoughts, NOT to pound and dig and bully him for her/NBC benefit or pretend to be some Oprah/Barbara Walters of the olympics. Shameful and embarassing. Get her off the ice.

    Posted by: dixichuk | Feb 17, 2014 9:08:08 AM


  9. What's great about the Towleroad comments is that the posters never manipulate any situation so that they can jump in and appear morally superior. It's really great.

    Posted by: Markt | Feb 17, 2014 9:15:44 AM


  10. Oh, good grief. This is culture we live in: the reporter asks the questions that make the interviewee break down as the camer moves in for the kill, zooms in and scans the face, the suffering eyes, the choking mouth. Barbara Walters is a prime candidate for ushering in this reporting style. Let's all bash her. This is hardly one reporter's fault. We American's have been RESPONDING to this type of interview by the resulting higher ratings.

    Posted by: will | Feb 17, 2014 9:26:33 AM


  11. @MARKT -- What's great about the Towleroad comments is that trolls are given free reign to post right alongside normal, sentient people.

    Posted by: Gigi | Feb 17, 2014 9:31:22 AM


  12. That was hard to watch.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Feb 17, 2014 9:34:36 AM



  13. "I make my living off the Evening News
    Just give me somethin', somethin' I can use
    People love it when you lose, they love dirty laundry


    We got the bubble headed bleach blonde who comes on at five
    She can tell you 'bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye
    It's interesting when people die, give us dirty laundry

    Can we film the operation? Is the head dead yet?
    You know the boys in the newsroom got a running bet
    Get the widow on the set! We need dirty laundry


    Kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em when they're down
    Kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em when they're down..."

    Posted by: GregV | Feb 17, 2014 9:44:18 AM


  14. Waiting for Crisitn Cooper to come out now,....

    Posted by: Ankerich | Feb 17, 2014 9:45:51 AM


  15. Really - He brought it up for Chrissakes. He was asking to talk about it. I'm sure he didn't expect to breakdown; but there you go - being human is unpredictable sometimes. She only followed his lead and it would have been rude of her to not follow him there. You guys love to be offended - I guess it's all you have.

    Posted by: Markt | Feb 17, 2014 9:50:03 AM


  16. @Markt, he answered her question the first time. And then made clear the ski was NOT about his brother, specifically, and still she KEPT pushing because she saw him start to tear a bit. She also neglected to ask about anything technical (despite being a former medalist herself who is presumably there for inside the sport technical knowledge and commentary) and ignored the big story...an silver medal ulset by a teammate of Miller's that Miller gave advice to right before he skied and knocked Miller into 3rd.. or even that Miller was now the holder of tso records with this medal...every question was some sort of repeat of the last until he broke...and then she walked off. Not cool.

    Posted by: BreckRoy | Feb 17, 2014 9:58:08 AM


  17. Markt, being compassionate toward another's circumstance is not the same as being offended for no reason. Am I personally offended? Nope. Was that low-rent, predatory journalism? Yup.

    Posted by: LuckyLinden | Feb 17, 2014 10:00:14 AM


  18. On one hand, it's manipulative. On the other hand, we shouldn't be perpetuating that its somehow shameful or inappropriate for a man to cry.

    Posted by: Eugene | Feb 17, 2014 10:10:07 AM


  19. This reminds me of Katie Couric's interview with David Smith, the father of the boys Susan Smith drowned in their car in South Carolina. Katie wasn't getting enough emotion from him, so she asked, "What do you feel when you think of your boys strapped in the sinking car, alone, wondering, 'Where's Mommie, where's Daddie'?". Fortunately, he still deprived her of the tears she wanted. I have loathed Katie Couric ever since.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Feb 17, 2014 10:40:30 AM


  20. @ Will. We also live in a culture that still hates gay people. There is a difference in what the culture is and what we accept. Barbara Walters would be an appropriate venue for this kind of interview. Both parties know the parameters. Not only did she blindside and badger the poor guy, but she ignored the higher US silver medal winner. He hadn't medaled in any other competitions for 4 years, was a long shot,he never won more than bronze and she steals his moment for bottom feeding journalishm.

    Posted by: dixichuk | Feb 17, 2014 11:08:52 AM


  21. @Eugene, I don't think anyone is saying that. Men, especially at the Olympics, cry all the time (the winner of the event that Bode came in 3rd in cried like a baby when he got to the bottom of the slope and realized he'd won). I think we're saying it's wrong, as it has always been, to set out to *make* someone cry. Or hope they might cry, solely for entertainment/"news" value.

    Posted by: JeremyDC | Feb 17, 2014 11:39:23 AM


  22. No, tears of joy are not the same at all. The thing about the notion that men shouldn't cry is about not showing vulnerability. And this may be one of the reasons why this story is so jarring.

    Posted by: Eugene | Feb 17, 2014 11:57:40 AM


  23. I just disagree @ Eugene. Maybe being only 35 means I've had a different experience, but I did grow up in the military and then move to Texas for 8 years before coming back to DC and I can say that men cry far more now and people are used to it. No one I can think of would be unforgiving of a man crying over a dead immediate family member, or even uncomfortable with it. I know plenty of conservative, even-tea party alph man and jock types who still bawled like infants when their parents, spouse, or children (in one case) died. Plus, if you follow Bode Miller at all, you know he's hyper sensitive and almost needy at times to go with this manwhore bravado. I don't know that anyone was put off or jarred by a man grieving his dead little brother. It was the way the reporter pushed on the wound until it finally bled that was so disheartening and jarring. It seemed so inhumane.

    Posted by: BreckRoy McAllester | Feb 17, 2014 12:08:14 PM


  24. she pushed too much..she should have left it alone after one question..perhaps she was looking for the emotional tears..

    Posted by: miles | Feb 17, 2014 12:28:21 PM


  25. Christin Cooper's questioning of Bode Miller about his younger brother's death was digusting and unprofessional!

    To make matters worse, in a later recap of the action, NBC actually showed Bode Miller in tears, crouched down on the ground, and said he was shedding tears of joy over winning another Olympic medal.

    NBC's reporters' questioning of athletes has become so predictable and boring that the athletes could simply print out their answers in advance: (1) for victory, (2) for defeat.

    Posted by: Ninong | Feb 17, 2014 12:37:33 PM


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