Insensitive interview with Sochi medal winner Bode Miller angers viewers

Overcome with emotion: Bode Miller is interviewed by NBC. Photo: NBC screen shot Emotional … US skier Bode Miller reacts to questions about his brother after the Men’s Alpine Skiing Super-G at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre.
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“Today was one of the most emotional days of my life.”: Bode Miller. Photo: NBC screen shot

Difficult line of questions … US skier Bode Miller is comforted by his wife Morgan Beck after the Men’s Alpine Skiing Super-G at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre.

Emotional … US skier Bode Miller breaks down during an NBC interview after the Men’s Alpine Skiing Super-G at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre.

Emotional … US skier Bode Miller breaks down during an NBC interview after the Men’s Alpine Skiing Super-G at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre.

The US television network NBC has provoked a storm of criticism after a reporter covering the Sochi Olympics repeatedly questioned an athlete about his dead brother until he broke down in tears on air.

Reporter Christin Cooper was interviewing skier Bode Miller after he won the bronze medal in the Super-G. With the win, Miller made history as the oldest alpine skiing medalist.

But Cooper was more interested in talking to Miller about his brother Chelone who died last year after a seizure in California.

“Bode, you’re showing so much emotion down here. What’s going through your mind?” she asked him.

Miller replied: “A lot, obviously. A long struggle coming in here. And just a tough year.”

Miller was visibly emotional at that point, but Cooper pressed on with: “I know you wanted to be here with Chilly [Chelone Miller] experiencing these games, how much does it mean to you to come up with a great performance for him? And was it for him?”

Miller’s reply, while wiping away tears: “I mean, I don’t know if it’s really for him. But I wanted to come here and … I don’t know, I guess make myself proud, but …”

Cooper then asked a third question, clearly referring again to Miller’s 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?” she asked.

Miller then doubles over, breaking down in tears. His wife, professional beach volleyball player Morgan Beck, then stepped in to comfort him.

The camera stayed on the couple for more than a minute.

Miller later tweeted: “Today was one of the most emotional days of my life. I miss my brother.”

Reaction to the interview in the US has been almost overwhelmingly negative, with NBC and Cooper taking enormous heat.

It also provoked an avalanche of criticism on the social media platform Twitter.

NBC has been criticised for allowing the footage to air, including the camera lingering on Miller as he wept, despite having considerable time to make cuts due to the time delay in NBC’s coverage the Sochi games.

In an interview on the Today show, Miller later told Matt Lauer he had no quarrel with Cooper.

“I’ve known Christin a long time. She’s a sweetheart of a person. I know she didn’t mean to push,” he said. “I don’t think she really anticipated what my reaction was going to be, and I think by the time she sort of realised, it was too late. I don’t blame her at all.

“It was just a lot of emotion for me. It’s been a lot over the the last year. You sometimes don’t realise how much you contain that stuff until the dam breaks and then it’s just a real outpouring.”

NBC also put out a statement saying it was the network’s “judgement that [Miller’s] answers [to Cooper’s questions] were a necessary part of the story.

“Our intent was to convey the emotion that Bode Miller was feeling after winning his bronze medal,” the statement said.

“We understand how some viewers thought the line of questioning went too far. We’re gratified that Bode has been publicly supportive of Christin Cooper and the overall interview.”

NBC has also drawn criticism for an interview in which host Meredith Viera questioned 31-year-old women’s skeleton silver medal winner Noelle Pikus-Pace about a miscarriage she suffered several years ago.

NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell today said it was the network’s job to tell the personal stories of athletes.

“At the Olympics, particularly because people don’t know these athletes, they don’t know their stories, they don’t know the sports, it’s even a bigger responsibility to be able to share those to get viewers to connect with these athletes and their stories and their sports,” he said. “You’d be irresponsible not to tell that part of the story. That’s what we do,” he said, referring to the emphasis on personal stories and, in particular, the issue the death of Miller’s brother or Pikus-Pace’s miscarriage.

“We have to make a lot of decisions every day in our coverage, and we made that one, and we’re fine with it, and the interview subject was fine with it, so I think that should be the end of it,” Bell said.

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Stand your ground law means history will keep repeating

The circumstances of the killing are not in question. Michael Dunn, a 45-year-old white man, pulled up outside a convenience store in Florida, objected to the music blaring from a neighbouring vehicle and, after a brief argument, pulled a handgun out of his glove box and fired ten rounds into the car.
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Three of the young black men in 4WD were lucky enough not to be hurt at all. The fourth, 17-year-old Jordan Davis, sat in the back seat dead or dying from three gunshot wounds. The young men had tried to escape, but Dunn, a gun collector, kept firing into their car as they fled.

The boys drove to hospital where Davis was pronounced dead. Dunn went to his hotel room with his girlfriend and ordered a pizza.

On Saturday night in Florida an exhausted jury told the judge that after 30 hours of deliberations over four days they had come to a verdict on some of the charges Dunn faced, but were deadlocked on the main one. They could not agree that he was guilty of first-degree murder. On that count alone a mistrial was declared.

Kruzshander Scott, president of the Jacksonville section of the National Council of Negro Women, was among the crowd waiting outside the court for the verdict, the Associated Press reported. “I am scared to death because unless these laws are checked or changed for the benefit of all, it’s not going to change. We are going to repeat this same story over and over,” she said.

She is right. Floridians might be struck by the brutality of Jordan’s death but they cannot claim to be surprised that a jury could not convict his killer of murder.

This is the state where the stand your ground law written by the National Rifle Association protected George Zimmerman from conviction for shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin dead as he walked home with a packet of Skittles and a bottle of iced tea.

This is the state where Curtis Reeves shot 43-year-old Chad Oulson dead in a cinema after they argued about Oulson’s texting. A newly released autopsy report shows a bullet grazed Oulson’s wrist before it hit him in the throat. The injury to the wrist is thought to be a defensive wound, as though in the instant before he was shot Oulson tried paw the bullet out of the air.

In each of these cases the killers used the stand your ground law as a defence, either explicitly or implicitly.

Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watch volunteer, followed Martin in his car because he thought the boy was suspicious. After he shot him dead he told police they had become involved in a fight and he feared for his life. Police took him at his word and he was not even charged with a crime for six weeks.

His lawyers did not raise the stand your ground law in court, but they did not need to, the judge explained in instructions to the jury.

After shooting Oulson in the cinema Reeves told police he had “reason to believe [Oulson] was going to kick my ass”. He remains in jail awaiting trial.

Dunn told police he was intimidated by the “thug music” playing in the car Jordan was sitting in. During his trial he claimed Davis raised a shotgun and pointed it at him. No other witnesses saw a shotgun and none was found. The prosecution asked why, if the boys had a shotgun, they did not fire it.

Florida’s stand your ground law extends the so-called castle doctrine – which allows people to use lethal force to protect themselves in their homes – into the public domain. Where once people who feared for their safety had to first seek to retreat before using lethal force, they may now legally shoot first.

Zimmerman’s acquittal and Dunn’s mistrial are not glitches in stand your ground law, but the law’s very intent.

Since Florida introduced the law in 2005 it has spread via the conservative campaign organisation the American Legislative Exchange Council to nearly two dozen states. It is impossible to know whether these scared and angry men shot strangers because they were aware of the law and felt protected by it, but research by Texas A&M University shows that in states with stand your ground homicides have increased by up to 9 per cent.

The NRA believes the greatest danger to Americans are what it calls “gun free zones”, places where it is illegal to carry guns. The group is working hard and successfully to eradicate these zones, places like schools, churches, bars and restaurants. But the organisation seems to believe that there is no point in arming citizens if citizens don’t feel comfortable using their weapons.

Jordan’s father Ron Davis has no doubt the law failed his boy.

“[Jordan] was a good kid. It wasn’t allowed to be said in the court room, but we’ll say it. He was a good kid,” he said after the mistrial. “There are a lot of good kids out there … They should have a voice. They shouldn’t have to live in fear … that if they get shot, it’s just collateral damage.

“We do not accept a law that would allow collateral damage to our family members … We expect the law to be behind us, and protect us. That’s what I wanted the law to do — to protect Jordan as we protected Jordan.”

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Lily dognapped: two men charged after allegedly stealing family pet

Two men have been charged by police after allegedly stealing a dog from a backyard in Sydney’s west and demanding cash from the owner for the animal to be returned.
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The men, both aged 25, were arrested in a vehicle in Cabramatta with the female Labrador cross Staffordshire, named Lily, sitting in the vehicle with them.

The dog’s owner told police she had received a phone call telling her to bring cash to a specific location in Cabramatta if she wanted to see her dog again.

But when she arrived at the location she instead flagged down patrolling police officers, who approached the vehicle on her behalf and arrested the two men.

The 21-year-old woman told police that Lily had been stolen from the backyard of her home in Bonnyrigg earlier on Monday, before she received the phone call.

A NSW Police spokesman would not specify how much cash the men allegedly demanded in return for the dog, but said it was a “reasonably small amount”.

When the woman arrived in Cabramatta about 4.30pm on Monday she flagged down officers from the Cabramatta proactive crime team who were patrolling along John Street and Gladstone Street.

Police said the officers approached the car and arrested two men.

“They searched the vehicle, locating the female Labrador cross Staffordshire named Lily, and will allege they also located cannabis, goods suspected of being stolen, and a balaclava,” police said in a statement.

The men were taken to Cabramatta Police Station, where one man was charged with drug possession, stealing a dog, having goods in custody, having custody of a knife, and corruptly taking reward for a stolen dog.

The second man was charged with driving while disqualified, breaching bail, stealing a dog, and corruptly taking a reward for a stolen dog.

Both men were refused bail and are due to appear in Liverpool Local Court on Tuesday.

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Torah Bright ‘appalled’ at Bruce Brockhoff’s attack on AOC

Olympic snowboarding champion Torah Bright has condemned the attack on the Australian Olympic Committee from the father of her teammate Belle Brockhoff and distanced herself from “team outcast”.
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Brockhoff’s father, Bruce, enraged team officials when he said that Belle had received very little financial support from the organisation and teammate Alex “Chumpy” Pullin had received too much.

It came on the eve of the men’s snowboard cross, in which Pullin is a favourite to win.

“Mr Brockhoff should be held accountable for his words,” Bright said. “And . . . I am speechless. I am appalled, actually.

“Belle has put on such a show. To have this have any shadow over her is beyond me.

“It’s about these guys competing. It’s not about parents meddling. It’s not about using someone else as the vehicle for their own purpose.”

That said, Bright has been at the vanguard of a social media campaign about funding, creating a splinter group identified as “#teamoutcast”.

Said Bright: “This is kind of something we should all move on from, because we’re all Australians united as an Australian team. We need to forget this craziness.

“I don’t want to answer any more questions about it. We’re here at the Olympics, and we know we’ve done incredible things.

“Teamoutcast, to me, is something I did to support the people who were an outcast. It was other snowboarders, outside of Australia. For some reason, it’s been turned into addressing someone else’s agenda, and I am not going to have any part of it because they are using me and the silly little hashstag as the vehicle for their own agenda.”

Her remarks came in the aftermath of wild comments from Brockhoff’s father, Bruce, who the day before blowtorched Pullin, the AOC and the Olympic Winter Institute of Sport on the eve of Pullin’s run at the gold in the men’s snowboard cross.

Bruce Brockhoff claimed, via email to Australian journalists, that Pullin had received $1 million in funding while his daughter had only been given $38,000 in their pursuit of Olympic gold in Sochi.

Pullin brushed off questions about the animosity in the team after his event was postponed for a day because of heavy fog hanging over the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

Just to add to the madness, Bruce Brockhoff has issued an apology for his email outburst.

It gave an insight into his bizarre way of thinking with a statement on his own website.

“It was never my intention to upset the men’s boardercross event nor any one of the contestants especially Alex “Chumpy” Pullin, Jarryd Hughes nor Cam Bolton on the Australian team,” he posted.

“The intention of my email to the press was to point out reasons why some of the Australian boardercross team felt the need to form a lose (sic) group supporting one another calling themselves #teamoutcast.

“The reason I issued the email Sunday was to gain maximum publicity hot on the heals (sic) of my daughter Belle’s race at her first Olympics. To delay this email I felt would lesson (sic) its impact.

“The full story of what has transpired is being written at the moment and will appear in the newspapers ASAP complete with copies of supporting emails and one recording of a meeting in May.”

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The many different faces of sci-fi

The fact that Tatiana Maslany’s mother was a translator may have assisted her in pulling off her roles in Orphan Black (SBS2, 8.30pm).
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As Sarah Manning, and her various clones, Maslany succeeds in what must be a devilishly difficult task for an actor – playing a variety of characters, of a variety of nationalities, who all look the same but have wildly differing personalities. Just keeping the accents straight would be challenge enough, not to mention the array of hairdos that Maslany must switch in and out of to help us differentiate. And things have to get gruelling when you have to shoot the scene twice as different people. Spare a thought too for the body doubles, fated to a life of being shot from behind in someone else’s wig.

As we get to the pointy end of the series, and the mystery uncoils like a great snake, Maslany’s skills are tested heavily, particularly in a tense confrontation between the daring, troubled Sarah, seeking to protect her clone sisters and deranged Ukrainian assassin Helena, seeking to exterminate them.

The challenge with sci-fi is always making it feel important.

There’s a great risk, when your characters start talking about self-directed evolution and revealing their bio-engineered tails, that it’ll all start to feel a bit silly, and the essential unreality of the whole thing will cause the viewer to lose any feeling that anything on screen actually matters.

The question is, do you go full-Star Trek into fantasy land, or do you take the riskier route of grounding your show in the world we know, and hoping your writers and actors can muscle up enough to make it feel real? Orphan Black does the latter, to commendable effect.

As Sarah learns more about the cloning program, Cosima is drawn into the dangerous orbit of Dr Leekie, and Helena continues her fanatically murderous quest against the Neolutionists, it is very much down to Maslany’s ability to be by turns desperate, quirky and psychopathic, investing each clone with her own authentic identity, that Orphan Black still feels like it matters as the story becomes more and more extreme.

Speaking of extreme, the Winter Olympics (Ten, 8.30pm) bring us some of the most extreme behaviour possible for humans to engage in for the sake of a little gold disc. In the Summer Olympics elite athletes push themselves to the very limit – in the icebound version they push themselves over the limit and off a cliff.

Gold medals are being handed out in the women’s giant slalom (AKA throwing yourself down a mountain) and in the speed skating (AKA hurtling around in circles on razor blade shoes). There’s also qualifying in the ice hockey (AKA men bashing each other with sticks).

Sport, as always, is at its best when death lurks at every turn.

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Tax Office forced to pay Rupert Murdoch $880m

An $880 million payout to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has reignited the debate over whether global companies pay their fair share of tax in Australia.
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News was paid the money after winning a long-running legal battle with the Tax Office relating to a 1989 restructure of the media empire involving billions of dollars and a company in the tax haven Bermuda.

The ATO had refused to allow the deduction but News Corporation defeated the ATO in the Full Federal Court in July and the money began flowing to the company over the Christmas-New Year break.

Mark Zirnsak, who is the Australian representative of advocacy group Tax Justice Network and was a member of a panel set up by the previous government to review the low tax paid by some multinational companies, said the payout ”highlights the urgent need for reform of the global tax rules”.

”Multinational companies should not be able to use their legal structures involving tax havens to dodge tax in ways that nationally based companies cannot,” he said.

The payout represents a significant proportion of the $16.8 billion deterioration in the federal budget announced by Treasurer Joe Hockey in December.

It all but wipes out $1.1 billion in savings announced by Mr Hockey when he unveiled the midyear economic and fiscal outlook on December 17.

Mr Hockey did not mention the payout at the time, instead blaming the budget’s ”fiscal deterioration” on a softer economic outlook, downgraded exports forecasts and the previous Labor government.

Asked why Mr Hockey did not mention the financial blow, a spokeswoman said: ”The speech on the day was about detailing the broad fiscal mess the government had inherited.”

Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos declined to comment because of laws protecting taxpayer secrecy.

In 1989, following years of rapid overseas expansion, News Corporation was in the grip of a debt crisis which the following year would bring it to the brink of collapse.

News owed about $239 million more than it had in assets, with most of the debt due to companies within the group.

By taking out fresh loans funded by moving around ownership of the US operation and its half-stake in Bermuda-registered News Publishers Limited, which owned part of the South China Morning Post, News hoped to make itself more attractive to banks.

The restructure was funded by two cheques, totalling $3.27 billion, drawn on the account held by subsidiary News Finance at the Pitt Street, Sydney, branch of the Commonwealth Bank.

However, the money flowed back into the account the same day the cheque was drawn.

News subsequently claimed deductions for foreign exchange losses incurred because it later paid back loans denominated in US dollars in Australian dollars, which had fallen in value.

A panel of judges decided in favour of News Corporation on July 25, but the money did not immediately flow because the ATO was still able to appeal to the High Court.

The ATO’s 28-day window to mount an appeal coincided with the federal election campaign, during which Mr Murdoch’s newspapers ran heavily against the Labor Party and the then prime minister Kevin Rudd.

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Murdoch’s $880m tax win raises issues of global corporations’ tax liability

Rupert Murdoch. Photo: Tamara DeanAn $880 million payout to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has reignited the debate over whether global companies pay their fair share of tax in Australia.
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News was paid the money after winning a long-running legal battle with the Tax Office relating to a 1989 restructure of the media empire involving billions of dollars and a company in tax haven Bermuda.

The ATO had refused to allow the deduction but News Corporation defeated it in the full Federal Court in July and the money began flowing to the company over the Christmas-New Year break.

Mark Zirnsak, who is the Australian representative of advocacy group Tax Justice Network, said the payout ”highlights the urgent need for reform of the global tax rules”.

”Multinational companies should not be able to use their legal structures involving tax havens to dodge tax in ways that nationally based companies cannot,” he said.

The payout represents a significant proportion of the $16.8 billion deterioration in the federal budget announced by Treasurer Joe Hockey in December.

It all but wipes out $1.1 billion in savings announced by Mr Hockey when he unveiled the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook on December 17. Mr Hockey did not mention the payout at the time.

Asked why Mr Hockey did not mention the financial blow, a spokeswoman said: ”The speech on the day was about detailing the broad fiscal mess the government had inherited.”

Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos declined to comment, citing taxpayer secrecy laws.

In 1989 News Corporation was in the grip of a debt crisis that in 1990 brought it to the brink of collapse.

News owed about $239 million more than it had in assets.

By taking out fresh loans funded by moving around ownership of the US operation and its half-stake in Bermuda-registered News Publishers Limited, which owned part of the South China Morning Post, News hoped to make itself more attractive to banks.

The restructure was funded by two cheques, totalling $3.27 billion, drawn on the account held by subsidiary News Finance at the Pitt Street, Sydney, branch of the Commonwealth Bank. However, the money, plus an additional dollar, flowed back into the account the same day the cheque was drawn.

News subsequently claimed deductions for foreign exchange losses incurred because it later paid back loans denominated in US dollars in Australian dollars, which had fallen in value.

A panel of judges decided in favour of News Corporation on July 25, but the money did not immediately flow because the ATO was still able to appeal. The ATO’s 28-day window to mount an appeal coincided with the federal election campaign, during which Mr Murdoch’s newspapers campaigned against Labor.

Under the terms of a deal struck when News was split up last year, the money has been paid to News’ sister company 21st Century Fox.

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Amount of parkland plummets over past decade

Revealed: The councils with the least public open space tend to be in rural areas. Photo: Jason SouthThe amount of public open space provided by NSW councils has declined 18 per cent over the past 10 years – a loss of parkland of 27,400 hectares.
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This may be partly due to the need for additional infrastructure, with a growing population, according to a report measuring the performance of the state’s 152 councils, which was published by the Division of Local Government. Or it might be due to more accurate data, it says.

The councils with the least public open space tend to be rural councils with plenty of ”private” open space in the form of farmland and forests. Gilgandra Council has just five hectares of open space and Gundagai Shire Council seven hectares.

Around Sydney, the councils with the least open space are Burwood with 38 hectares and neighbouring Ashfield with 48 hectares. These figures are dwarfed by Bankstown (844 hectares), Hornsby (2360 hectares), Sutherland (2708 hectares), Blacktown (6032 hectares) and Gosford with 30,768 hectares.

The number of council swimming pools has fallen from 349 to 334 in the past five years. Ageing pools are expensive to maintain and there is a trend towards new, centralised aquatic centres.

NSW councils have added 11,588 kilometres of roads to their networks and an additional 220 community centres and town halls in the last 10 years.

While 75 per cent of councils achieved a moderate financial sustainability rating or better in 2011-12, the overall position of the sector is likely to worsen. By 2014-15, more than 40 per cent of councils could be rated weak, very weak or distressed, the report says.

Figures on revenue spent on administration cast doubt on the theory that bigger councils are more efficient. On average, councils spend 19 per cent of their revenue on governance and administration. Parramatta spends 51 per cent, Liverpool 45 per cent and the City of Sydney 39 per cent.

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Darling Harbour’s award-winning Exhibition Centre reduced to demolition zone

Going, going: The Darling Harbour Exhibition Centre, which was opened by the Queen in 1988, is pulled down to make way for a billion dollar development. Photo: Edwina PicklesThe elegant beams and soaring white walls of the Sydney Exhibition Centre are being reduced to piles of concrete and twisted steel as its demolition gathers pace this week.
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The building, opened with much fanfare by the Queen in 1988, is being unceremoniously pulled apart to make way for Darling Harbour’s billion-dollar redevelopment. The process began with the removal of the internal fittings in December, but only recently extended to external demolition work after hoardings were erected this month.

Developer Lend Lease expects that the entire structure of the exhibition halls will have disappeared by next month.

With it will go some of the architectural legacy of its designer, Philip Cox, who has previously described the Sulman Award-winning building as one of his best works.

Mr Cox has had a ringside seat to what he describes as an ”act of vandalism”; he lives at Darling Harbour and walks past the site every day.

”It’s a very sore point with me. I feel very distressed when I even think about it,” Mr Cox said.

”It’s been widely acclaimed in every corner of the world and yet there has been this wanton destruction of it.”

Acting Premier Andrew Stoner said seven international events, worth almost $50 million to the state’s economy, had already been secured for the new exhibition and convention centres due to open in late 2016.

Mr Stoner said these events, in addition to those already booked into the interim centre at Glebe Island, were a ”vote of confidence” in the government’s plans.

”It shows that there is a lot of faith in Sydney as Australia’s leading business events destination, and that we are living up to our reputation by delivering world-class infrastructure,” he said.

Before the new centres emerge, about 2000 tonnes of steel and 70,000 tonnes of concrete – enough to fill 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools – will be removed from the 20-hectare precinct.

“We are targeting to recycle around 90 per cent of the concrete and steel, and we are well on track to reach that target,” said Richard Eaton, Lend Lease’s construction director for Darling Harbour Live.

Demolition of the nearby convention centre is expected to be completed by May or June.

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US network NBC hit by avalanche of criticism for ‘insensitive’ interview of skier Bode Miller

Overcome with emotion: Bode Miller is interviewed by NBC. Photo: NBC screen shot Emotional: US skier Bode Miller.
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“Today was one of the most emotional days of my life.”: Bode Miller. Photo: NBC screen shot

Difficult line of questions: Bode Miller is comforted by his wife Morgan Beck.

Emotional … US skier Bode Miller breaks down during an NBC interview after the Men’s Alpine Skiing Super-G at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre.

Emotional … US skier Bode Miller breaks down during an NBC interview after the Men’s Alpine Skiing Super-G at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre.

Aussie wins silverIce hockey protestFull coverage

The US television network NBC has provoked a storm of criticism after a reporter covering the Sochi Olympics repeatedly questioned an athlete about his dead brother until he broke down in tears on air.

Reporter Christin Cooper was interviewing skier Bode Miller after he won the bronze medal in the Super-G. With the win, Miller made history as the oldest alpine skiing medalist.

But Cooper was more interested in talking to Miller about his brother Chelone who died last year after a seizure in California.

“Bode, you’re showing so much emotion down here. What’s going through your mind?” she asked him.

Miller replied: “A lot, obviously. A long struggle coming in here. And just a tough year.”

Miller was visibly emotional at that point, but Cooper pressed on with: “I know you wanted to be here with Chilly [Chelone Miller] experiencing these games, how much does it mean to you to come up with a great performance for him? And was it for him?”

Miller’s reply, while wiping away tears: “I mean, I don’t know if it’s really for him. But I wanted to come here and … I don’t know, I guess make myself proud, but …”

Cooper then asked a third question, clearly referring again to Miller’s 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?” she asked.

Miller then doubles over, breaking down in tears. His wife, professional beach volleyball player Morgan Beck, then stepped in to comfort him.

The camera stayed on the couple for more than a minute.

Miller later tweeted: “Today was one of the most emotional days of my life. I miss my brother.”

Reaction to the interview in the US has been almost overwhelmingly negative, with NBC and Cooper taking enormous heat.

It also provoked an avalanche of criticism on the social media platform Twitter.

NBC has been criticised for allowing the footage to air, including the camera lingering on Miller as he wept, despite having considerable time to make cuts due to the time delay in NBC’s coverage the Sochi games.

In an interview on the Today show, Miller later told Matt Lauer he had no quarrel with Cooper.

“I’ve known Christin a long time. She’s a sweetheart of a person. I know she didn’t mean to push,” he said. “I don’t think she really anticipated what my reaction was going to be, and I think by the time she sort of realised, it was too late. I don’t blame her at all.

“It was just a lot of emotion for me. It’s been a lot over the the last year. You sometimes don’t realise how much you contain that stuff until the dam breaks and then it’s just a real outpouring.”

NBC also put out a statement saying it was the network’s “judgement that [Miller’s] answers [to Cooper’s questions] were a necessary part of the story.

“Our intent was to convey the emotion that Bode Miller was feeling after winning his bronze medal,” the statement said.

“We understand how some viewers thought the line of questioning went too far. We’re gratified that Bode has been publicly supportive of Christin Cooper and the overall interview.”

NBC has also drawn criticism for an interview in which host Meredith Viera questioned 31-year-old women’s skeleton silver medal winner Noelle Pikus-Pace about a miscarriage she suffered several years ago.

NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell today said it was the network’s job to tell the personal stories of athletes.

“At the Olympics, particularly because people don’t know these athletes, they don’t know their stories, they don’t know the sports, it’s even a bigger responsibility to be able to share those to get viewers to connect with these athletes and their stories and their sports,” he said. “You’d be irresponsible not to tell that part of the story. That’s what we do,” he said, referring to the emphasis on personal stories and, in particular, the issue the death of Miller’s brother or Pikus-Pace’s miscarriage.

“We have to make a lot of decisions every day in our coverage, and we made that one, and we’re fine with it, and the interview subject was fine with it, so I think that should be the end of it,” Bell said.

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