Bode Miller had just become the oldest alpine skier to earn an olympic medal. It was a pretty great moment, even if it was a bronze medal that he was sharing with another skier and not a gold. Unfortunately the interview that followed left me feeling uncomfortable rather than excited – and if Twitter is any indication, I wasn’t alone.
The reporter continually asked Bode about his younger brother, who had recently passed away. It’s definitely a valid question, but to keep pestering and framing the same question in different ways was extremely insensitive. It became clear that he was emotionally affected by the circumstances yet the questioning didn’t stop.
His story had been shared through well-produced video packages, interviews and the fact that we can hear the interactions with his wife immediately following his run. As a viewing audience, we knew what was going on and what this accomplishment meant for Miller.
I understand that the interviewer is in a tough spot with such a sensitive subject but it could have been handled differently. Also, this wasn’t live which means that NBC chose to air it in its entirety anyway. I might have cut it short once he got to the point where his emotions pretty much prevented him from speaking.
Overall, the interview soured what was supposed to be an exciting and memorable moment. However, Bode Miller does not want anyone to blame the interviewer Christin Cooper.
Rich Sandomir wrote a worthwhile piece on the interview. I agree with his take and I was thinking the same thing while watching. This is a good learning experience for any aspiring journalist. I’m all for variety in questioning but there are limits and boundaries that should be adhered to. You wouldn’t want to make someone cry when talking about a loved one who just passed in regular conversation, and you certainly should not want to do it while conducting an interview.