Dateline NBC Defends Their Decision to Plant Muslims At A NASCAR Race

4 08 2007

 ‘Dateline’ defends planting Muslims at NASCAR race

Updated 4/6/2006 11:38 PM

After bringing Muslim men to Martinsville Speedway in Virginia to gauge the reaction of NASCAR fans, Dateline NBC won’t have its cameras at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.

In a statement released Thursday, NBC defended its reporting tactics, saying “there have been a lot of inaccurate comments” and that Dateline “had barely begun its reporting.”

Dateline is not planning a story about NASCAR,” the statement said. “We are following up on a recent poll and other articles indicating an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States. We are curious about whether that is true. The NASCAR race at Martinsville was a stop we have made in our research on this story.

“There is nothing new about the technique of witnessing the experience of someone who might be discriminated against in a public setting.”

NASCAR officials were angry after learning Dateline recruited Muslims to attend the DirecTV 500. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said the group walked around outside the track without any reaction from fans.

“It’s outrageous that a news organization like NBC would seek to create the news instead of reporting the news,” Poston said.

NASCAR is in the final year of a contract with NBC Sports, which will broadcast the second half of the Nextel Cup season.

Seriously!?  First of all, they are clearly sterotyping NASCAR fans. My family happens to be extreme NASCAR fanatics and so are many of their friends. Many MUSLIMS I know watch NASCAR.  I have never really been partial to it myself. Though, the people I know who watch NASCAR are not backward country bumpkins or  kkk members ready to pounce on anyone who is a different race or religion. In fact, the NASCAR fans I know LOOOOOOVE their MUSLIM DAUGHTER, SISTER, AUNT, AND FRIEND!  Maybe some NASCAR fans are racist, maybe some of them would have made rude comments or even emboldened by alcohol made a physical move. I dare say, that could happen in any sport.  Look at all the fights that break out in the stands in basketball games, baseball games, hockey games, etc. Usually they involve no Muslims at all. Yet, people still find a reason to fight.It is ridiculous the amount of sterotyping that goes on in today’s world and the amount that people are willing to endure. 




8 responses

4 08 2007


Very, very interesting thoughts…you really got me thinking about the tactics used by NBC. At first blush, I found nothing wrong with their approach. But it was only after you brought up your objections that I had to think twice.

I agree that they are stereotyping. But how else can they get access to such a large control group, especially in an informal setting?

Actually, I’d be very interested to see the reaction to a group of Muslims by random Americans of different socio-economic backgrounds, not only the white middle-class NASCAR audience.

I’d like to see people at a baseball game or a polo match or an inner city shopping mall

But I’m still trying to understand what was so wrong with them picking out NASCAR. Was it the singling out of NASCAR fans (meaning you would have found it less objectionable if they had placed the Muslim group in various settings)?


4 08 2007
Umm Yusuf

Assalaamu Alaikum wrwb,

Well, NASCAR is percieved to be a sport for uncooth country people. Although, it is certainly changing rapidly to include a variety of viewers (as I pointed out in my critique). Still, it seems many people view NASCAR fans as such.

I wouldn’t have minded if they had put the Muslims in several different settings. However, they obviously thought that they would get a reaction from NASCAR fans. Being the stereotypical way they are viewed.

I found it refreshing and not at all surprising that the reaction they were hoping to get (discrimination, tension) turned out to be nothing at all.

“NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said the group walked around outside the track without any reaction from fans.”

I don’t mind the little experiments of putting people in certain situations to see how they will react. However, this avenue was singled out due to stereotypes on both sides. It should have been a multi avenue approach.

*note: I don’t dislike Dateline NBC. I actually like and admire their “To Catch A Pedator” series and several other topics they have done.*

5 08 2007

Dateline just did not “get” Nascar fans. Attending an event, or just being among other fans has always been a bit different from other sports.
Yes, there are always a few in the minority who act out; but for the most part, when you are among Nascar fans, you are among friends and family.
I remember when that happened. I am happy that Dateline saw the best in us that day.

5 08 2007

Assalamu’alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Sis, May I know what does NASCAR stands for?…What kind of sport play is it?…..

Jazakillah … 🙂

5 08 2007
Umm Yusuf

NASCAR = National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing

It’s auto racing. The cars go around a circular track for a number of laps. Whoever crosses the finish line first wins. 😀

5 08 2007

I did not know if I should laugh or cry at this blog? I’m happy nothing happened (they probably should have taken them to a mosh pit – that way they’d get some footage of them being busted up – even if it was by their personal choice.) What a bunch of dorks – I say this because they attempted to put a group of people in harms way. (I don’t say this because I think NASCAR fans are uncouth any more than I think all teenagers are shoplifters or that all Muslims are terrorists.)

Actually, being from the country myself – you gotta wonder a bit who is smarter? The ones who got out of the rat race, away from the pollution, and can drop their feet in a cool pond on a hot day or those who live in the city? Today I spent the better part of the day taking snapshots of passing birds. My personal definition of hell would be a little cubical in an office somewhere only to wander to a little apartment only to go back to that same little cubical. Thank you so much – but no. Dumb or not; besides the federal government we own most of America. 🙂 Us rednecks – now ain’t that a kick in the pants? (I used the word ain’t so I could perpetuate the stereotype, personally I think it’s a lot of fun.)

6 08 2007
Umm Yusuf

I think they did want someone to get hurt because that would bring in more viewers……’s all about the ratings and more drama,shock, and violence seems to pull in the ratings nowadays (even if they have to create it themselves).

I had to laugh at the last 2 sentences.

7 08 2007

Wow I had no idea about that report if that’s what they want to call it. I agree with you too living in NC NASCAR’s speedway is right up our alley, and although there are racists doesn’t mean that all of them are that way. Like you said such a stereotype of NASCAR and its fans. I think many Muslims that I associate with think the same thing. I wanted to watch a race one summer and was told not too go like helllooooo all of a sudden I can’t go to NASCAR cause i’m Muslim who told u that. I think the Islamic community needs to also shed off this stereotype of NASCAR putting fear into the residents is just awful. Instead of complaining and backbiting just go and see for yourself before making assumptions. You said it beautifully sis…LOL too long I know just gets me all wired up!!! Hugs 😉

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