Tiger Woods’ name is in a headline and suddenly, we’re paying attention. Unintentionally, because of our curiosity, we have begun to feed the machine.
What machine? The Tiger Woods media coverage wood chipper: good intentions enter the machine like trees and come out as rotting excuses, more lies and overall junk.
Maybe I’m being harsh. In general, I feel public apologies for private infidelities are not only unnecessary, but also oftentimes more harmful. Who benefitted from Tiger Woods’ much publicized and flat apology? No one. Not his wronged wife, not his mistresses who are calling for an apology of their own and definitely not the American people. What Tiger Woods does in his personal time is no care of mine, or of most people’s. So why does he need to apologize to all of us?
It’s only because of ratings. As a rising journalist, I understand the importance of readership and viewership. But Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star admitted as early as Dec. 5 of last year that the media has sunk to a new low trying to catch the Tiger.
“The high road no longer pays our bills,” Whitlock wrote. “So, like TMZ, the National Enquirer and all the rest, we will pick through the personal lives of celebrity athletes, and when we turn up dirt, we will shout they owe us a televised, remorseful, ratings-driving explanation.”
The explanation we got was horribly anti-climactic. Tiger babbled, apologized, babbled some more and was done. It didn’t seem at all like his heart was in it, and in the words of Rihanna, “Don’t tell me you’re sorry ’cause you’re not … I know you’re only sorry you got caught.”
Take a bow, Tiger. You’re not fooling anyone.
Not only did Tiger waste valuable airspace, but after the apology bubble burst, pundits spent hours analyzing and deconstructing his poorly written speech. The United States is fighting two wars. Iran is getting more belligerent every day. The Olympics were more important than the words that should have been reserved for Woods’ wife and family.
Possibly the only good to come out of the media whirlwind is PETA’s punchy billboard campaign. “Too much sex can be a bad thing … for little tigers too. Help keep your cats (and dogs) out of trouble. Always spay or neuter!”
So what am I doing — feeding this flame? I’m trying to build it up and then dump a gallon of water on it. Stop with the coverage. Tiger’s car accident was not newsworthy, and what it uncovered was only newsworthy for gossip magazines and tabloids.
It’s time for respectable and reputable newspapers and television stations to leave private matters out of the public sphere and the American people to stop demanding apologies for things that don’t concern them.
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