NASCAR outraged by 'Dateline' racial story approach

Updated: April 5, 2006, 7:23 PM ET
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR said it was "outrageous" that "Dateline NBC" targeted one of its race tracks last weekend for a possible segment on anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States.

NASCAR said NBC confirmed it was sending Muslim-looking men to a race, along with a camera crew to film fans' reactions. The NBC crew was "apparently on site in Martinsville, Va., walked around and no one bothered them," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Wednesday.

"It is outrageous that a news organization of NBC's stature would stoop to the level of going out to create news instead of reporting news," Poston said.

"Any legitimate journalist in America should be embarrassed by this stunt. The obvious intent by NBC was to evoke reaction, and we are confident our fans won't take the bait," he said.

NASCAR is in the final year of a broadcasting agreement with NBC Sports.

"'Dateline' is looking into this story," NBC said in a statement. "We were intrigued by the results of a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll and other articles regarding increasing anti-Muslim sentiments in the United States.

"It's very early on in our newsgathering process, but be assured we will be visiting a number of locations across the country and are confident that our reporting team is pursuing this story in a fair manner," it said.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press