Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bode Miller and media hypocrisy

So there he was, at the ripe old age of 36, and fresh off an Olympic slalom course. Bode Miller had tied for a bronze medal by the slimmest of margins. Not gold but, still, any medal is something to be proud of in the Olympics.

Enter Christin Cooper of NBC, microphone in hand and cameraperson zeroing in on Bode. Much like that nitwit reporter a while back that stuck a microphone in front of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman while he was still in battle mode -- Cooper wanted an interview with Miller -- and she wanted it NOW.

So did Cooper ask about Bode's actual skiing -- the very reason he was there in the first place? Oh no. Miller was seen to be mumbling to himself just before he left the starting gate. Cooper wanted to know if perhaps Miller was talking to his recently deceased brother. Bode could have been talking to God, himself, his wife, or any number of others, in an attempt to psych himself up for what lied immediately ahead. Nobody knew for sure except Bode, and is there something so terribly wrong with letting an athlete go through their own private ritual before an event -- without the media later probing and prodding as to the hows, whos, whys, whats, and wherefores that were on their mind at that particular time?

Yet Christin Cooper kept asking question after question referring to Bode's dead brother. Finally, Miller broke down in tears and walked away from the interview.

This sparked a lot of furor in the nanosecond world of social media. People were outraged as to the tactics Cooper had employed. How dare she keep hammering the poor guy about a highly personal tragic issue while ignoring what actually transpired while he was -- you know -- skiing?

Earlier tonight, enter another Cooper, first name Anderson, of CNN. One of their lead stories was how Christin Cooper had handled the original interview with Bode Miller. CNN correspondent Rachel Nichols had sat down with Miller to ask him about just that. And what did she do? Ask even MORE probing personal questions about Miller's brother.

Your brother had a motorcycle accident, right?
How long ago?
How bad were the seizures that resulted?
He was an aspiring snowboarder himself, correct?

That leaves one to wonder -- how would media people like Christin Cooper and Rachel Nichols like it if the tables were turned, and instead of someone asking them about their journalism careers -- zeroed in on a recent tragic event in their life instead? Lost a child or buried a parent lately? Did they suffer much, twitch or cry out at the end? And BTW, just what exactly was going through your mind when they finally closed the lid on the coffin at the funeral home, or an unmarked vehicle departed for a crematorium somewhere? Give us a little insight on that.

See how ridiculous and grossly insensitive such questions would be? But the media seems to think it's acceptable to ask them of others -- while being immune to the same tactics themselves. And that's not right.

Anderson Cooper's motto on CNN is "keeping them honest".

I have but one question.

Who's keeping THEM honest?

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