Journalism is all about getting the full story, but what happens when this practice pushes the boundaries to the point of insensitivity?
Right after winning bronze medal in the super-G race in Sochi on Sunday, U.S. skier Bode Miller spoke with NBC’s Christian Copper, who wanted to get an emotional story out of the athlete, but instead set him to tears on national television.
In hopes of getting the Olympic athlete to talk about his brother Chelone – a professional snowboarder who died last year from a seizure – Cooper began the interview asking him what was going through his mind after the race, but Miller didn’t go there and so Cooper pushed a little more.
“I know you wanted to be here with Chelone, really experiencing these games. How much does it mean to you to come out with a great performance for him, and was it for him?”
Trying to keep his emotions in check, the already teary-eye alpine ski racer kept his answers short, but the reporter disregarding the nonverbal cues decided to go ahead with a third question referencing his brother.
“When you’re looking up in the sky at the start, we see you there, and it just looks like you’re talking to somebody. What’s going on there?”
Miller Then leans over the fence and lets it all out.
After watching this incredibly emotional interview, I realized this wasn’t the first time I’ve seen a reporter feel the need to put their story first and forget to have even a little compassion, in fact, here are five of the most outrageously insensitive TV interviews:
5. Jim Gray Interviews Pete Rose
During the 1999 World Series sports anchor Jim Gray repeatedly and aggressively asked Rose about the allegations that he had gambled on major league baseball games, just moments after the ex-baseball player has been inducted as a member of the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. According to The Washington Post, fans bombarded NBC and its affiliates with angry calls because it was a night for celebration not for breaking news. In 2004, Rose finally confessed in his book “My Prison Without Bars” that he did gamble.
4. Reason TV interviews various people
During a Save Our Schools march that took place in Washington, D.C. in 2011 a reporter and her camera man asked various attendees, including Matt Damond, one-sided questions about teachers and tenure. Damon – whose mother is a teacher – along with the other interviewees proceeded to slam the reporter for her unethical questions.
3. Kay Burley interviews reality star
During a live interview with Peter Andre, back in 2010, Kay Burley nearly brought the English-Australian singer and TV personality to tears when she brought up his children and his ex’s new husband.
2. Lauren Green interviews book author
Just last year Lauren Green, host of “Spirited Debate,” stuck her foot in her mouth during an interview with Reza Aslan, author of “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” when she asked: “You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?”
1. Kay Burley interviews concerned volunteers
Kay Burley just doesn’t learn does she? According to The Daily Mail, back in 2012 while interviewing two volunteers who had not heard any recent updates about April Jones, the missing five-year-old girl they were looking for, Burley broke the news to them on camera that police “don’t expect her to be alive” then proceded to ask if they “would like to say anything.”
Your call: CNN interviews children from Sandy Hook
According to the New York Times, back in in 2012 the U.S. suffered one of many terrible tragedies when 20 children and six adults were fatally shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn,. CNN and NBC were called insensitive for having interviews with many of the children that were there at the time of the shooting, according to The Wire.
The fact is that this same predicament has been debated in many ethics classes in Journalism, but there will always be those who agree and disagree, so I leave it up to you. Do you think that interviewing the children after the tragedy was insensitive?
Do you know of any other insensitive TV interviews? Let us know in the comments below.