NBC opens Olympics with death video

Launching its coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies this evening,  NBC took the low road.

In the first ten minutes of an eagerly awaited family television event, during the dinner hour, NBC ran the video of Nodar Kumaritashvili’s fatal luge crash. Twice.

I was absolutely appalled. Not an hour before, I’d been on the phone with my son, reminding him to have the TV on so my grandchildren, ages 4 and 7, could enjoy the pageantry of the Opening Ceremonies.

The death today of one of the Olympic athletes has cast a pall over the entire event; no one is going to forget what happened. And I’m sure the young man will be remembered appropriately and often during the Opening Ceremonies and the days of competition that follow.

NBC could have spoken of the tragedy and remembered the 21-year-old with film of one of his earlier runs. Something tasteful and dignified. Maybe some pictures of him smiling and enthusiastic, remembering how he lived, not how he died. There were so many options. But running the actual video of his fatal crash, when even the cable news channels had treated it very gingerly all afternoon, was a terrible, terrible lapse of judgment.

4 thoughts on “NBC opens Olympics with death video

  1. I have to say that I agree. I did not even want to give them my time to watch it! I have a 20 year old son and a 16 year old son. I could only think of what the family must be enduring. Stay well.
    I enjoyed the rest of the show, thanks to Canadian production, not NBC. But I’m still furious that NBC chose to run that footage; it was totally inappropriate in that context.

  2. The news media is all about views and playing his past runs will not be fun and exciting. So to make it sensationalism they play the horrible video. I watched it and could not handle it. I could only play it once.

    My friend emailed a copy to his friend and she did not take it lightly. Somethings we take lightly others see it differently.
    My point exactly. Sensationalism and shock value of that sort had no place in the Olympics, especially before the Opening Cermeonies where the audience was tuning in to watch parades, fireworks, and celebration.

    I wrote a scathing letter to the network before I posted this, and I hope I wasn’t the only one.

  3. They ran the actual crash video? That’s truly in poor taste.
    Yes, they did. They cut the last second, but the effect on the viewer was the same.

  4. I heard about the accident, how they kept playing the clip, and purposely stayed away from TV for a few days. I’d like to see a sensationalism purge from the news in the way we are starting to see professional athletes being called to the mat for their stupid behavior. After all, they do have those reality shows for people who just cannot live without sensationalism.

    Glad to see some similar thoughts on it!
    Unfortunately, “if it bleeds, it leads” on the news. Yes, this clip belonged on the worst of those reality shows, not on coverage of the Olympics. This post got a ton of hits, and judging from the search terms, people were expecting me to have the actual video posted. I’m not sorry I disappointed them.

    P.S. Thank you for your email. My reply didn’t go through, but I appreciate your comment.

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