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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.

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