“Dateline NBC” says it will not have its cameras at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.
In a written statement, NBC also defended its tactics of the previous week, saying, “there have been a lot of inaccurate comments about a potential story Dateline NBC has been looking into. Dateline is not planning a story about NASCAR. We are following up on a recent poll and other articles indicating an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States. The NASCAR race at Martinsville was a stop we made in our research on this story, which may take us across the country. There is nothing new about the technique of witnessing the experience of someone who might be discriminated against in a public setting. Government agencies and journalists do it all the time to explore important issues. For this story, we also wanted to take a look at large public gatherings, including sporting events. Dateline has barely begun its reporting on this topic. We can assure you that what we broadcast, if anything, will be fair and accurate.”
NBC's final statement is the most telling of all. Less than a week after attempting to ignite an incident that would have portrayed NASCAR fans as racist, intolerant rednecks, NBC now assures us that they are worthy of our trust, and will treat us fairly in the end.
Again, had "Dateline" wanted to know whether there has been an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment in this country, they could have canvassed law enforcement agencies nationwide, looking for incidences of discrimination and/or violence against Muslims. Instead, they took a shortcut, trying to instigate one of their own. Now, they insist that their "research" will continue, despite the abrupt cancellation of this weekend's festivities at Texas Motor Speedway.
My guess is that Dateline NBC's story is dead on arrival, for two reasons. First, with the light of day now shining brightly on their hidden-camera scheme, NBC will find it virtually impossible to goad anyone into the kind of incident they hope to document. Second -- and most important -- NBC has failed to prove the point they set out to prove; that NASCAR fans (and Americans in general) are a group of racist, intolerant thugs.