Bryant Gumbel is not...has never been...a journalist. Folks like Gumbel or his Today Show buddies Katie Couric and Matt Lauer should never be considered journalists. They are entertainers...television personalities...professional celebrities. I don't mean that in a condescending manner...Gumbel, Lauer, and especially Couric are very good at what they do. They get the job done, and at times they do some reporting, some comedy, some gossip, and some cooking. There's nothing wrong with any of that...but they are no more journalists than President Bush is a Beatle; the President may admire the group, and even sometimes sing their songs in the shower, but he's not a member of the band.
So Gumbel's recent remarks about the Olympic Winter Games shouldn't be taken too seriously. He is not, after all, serious about anything other than entertaining. One need not be a member of Mensa to be a successful entertainer or a prominent personality. Gumbel proves this.
Were his remarks racist? Without question, yes. Were they idiotic? Certainly, they were...particularly in the light of Shani Davis' historic Gold Medal win. But Gumbel's not a serious man, and we shouldn't react as if he were.