A Lesson in Tact

Social media exploded earlier this week with the story of Bode Miller and NBC reporter Christin Cooper. The story is long and complicated. Miller had just tied in third place for a bronze medal in men’s skiing super-G event, at what is his last Olympics, and Cooper was ready to interview him. So far, so good. NBC had aired a pretty emotional piece with Miller earlier though, letting us all know that he had lost his brother last year. They put microphones on his wife, allowing the viewers to hear all her reactions and experience all the heightened emotions.

Things took a sudden turn when NBC’s reporter Cooper asked Miller about his brother’s death. Miller talked about it, mentioning that he had “a lot of emotion riding” on the race. The reporter picked up on Miller’s response and decided to pursue that specific line of questioning. She asked him one more question about his brother, then a second one, then a third one, until Miller was crying on camera. Kneeling, he placed his head on the railing and cried for the whole country to see. Instead of switching back to Matt Lauer in the studio, NBC kept the camera on Miller for another minute as he cried and walked away towards his family.

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It really is no surprise that Twitter and Facebook were filled with comments about NBC’s handling of the events, especially Cooper’s questions. Cooper took the heat from Miller’s fans and viewers for making the Olympian uncomfortable and vulnerable on national T.V. Miller graciously defended Cooper in later interviews, claiming he didn’t believe she deliberately meant to hurt him.

What did you guys think about the situation? Do you think the reporter was careless, or do you think she did it on purpose? How would you have handled the situation differently? As always, we look forward to hearing your opinions…don’t be shy! (NY Times)

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