Monday, November 30, 2009

Media (Un)Ethics

The media loves to destroy careers and damage peoples' lives. if someone is unfortunate enough to be in the media spotlight due to their iridescent talents, that person can count on being treated like the subject of the Truman Show. Especially if something in that microscopically-studied life should happen to occur that promises lots of free publicity for the jackals of the Press.

Tiger Woods is one of these unfortunates. The man is a supremely skilled golfer. He is athletic, rich, attractive to the fair sex and seemingly lives the Perfect Life. But he is also an intensely private person off the golf course. He doesn't appear on frothy 'celebrity' shows. He doesn't appreciate fake topless shots of his wife. And he certainly doesn't enjoy the media intruding into what he does off the golf course. All of which stands should be uncontroversial. But the media can't let it go. In a world populated by self-serving trash like TMZ and Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr (who calls himself Perez Hilton), if the media cannot catch a celebrity in an embarrassing, headline-provoking scandal, they are perfectly prepared to create it out of whole cloth.

Such is the case here. The undisputed facts are these:

  1. The National Enquirer magazine published a story claiming Mr. Woods had an affair with a woman.

  2. Both Woods and the woman (Rachel Uchitel, 34) promptly denied the report.

  3. Mr. Woods and his wife may have had an argument, possibly caused by the Enquirer's story. No physical force has been reported to have been involved.

  4. Mr. Woods left the house at a very early hour and was involved in a minor automobile accident.

  5. Mrs. Woods assisted in rescuing her husband, who suffered minor injuries.

As far as I am aware, no laws were broken by either Mr. or Mrs. Woods. However, the media, having created the situation that caused the problem, are now in full-throated roar demanding that Mr. Woods somehow owes them an explanation.

Er, how to put this in language our logically- and ethically-challenged media will understand? NO. Tiger Woods owes the the press nothing at all. In addition, unless some evidence emerges that he broke the law in some manner, neither does he owe the police an explanation. Jason Whitlock, one of the very few members of the press who has both respect for others' privacy and common sense (he was virtually the only member of the national media to get the Duke Rape Hoax right), put it best in his column this morning, writing,
The media members/outlets asserting Tiger Woods owes the public and the Florida Highway Patrol an explanation for a fender-bender and his wife's jaws-of-9-iron rescue owe America an explanation for their self-serving jealousy and obvious stupidity.

The price of fame and wealth should not be the sacrifice of marital privacy. Tiger Woods plays golf for our enjoyment. He didn't marry Elin Nordegren for our entertainment.

Jason Whitlock gets it. Why don't the rest of America's supposedly 'professional' press corps? The media does not have a right to invade the privacy of people just because their professions bring them into the public eye.

America's media has a lot of problems, from their abject failure to actually display any professional objectivity (11 'fact-checkers' for Sarah Palin's book, zero for Barack Obama's or Joe Biden's)to their complete failure to accurately inform the American public about many important stories currently ongoing (ACORN's corruption, the University of East Anglia's emails, etc.). But while they don't seem to have enough time to actually deal with actual issues of real importance to most Americans, they do have enough time to descend on a professional athlete who has done nothing wrong and try to wreck his life. For shame!

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