It seems to be a growing trend for mainstream media to devote hours of coverage to
sensationalized stories holding little news value that were once reserved for tabloids and gossip magazines. The Tiger Woods sex scandal is the greatest example.
Even after Woods made a televised apology Friday, the media shifted from pursuing every hint of infidelity and rumors of sex rehab to analyzing the speech to the point of absurdity. Was he sincere? Was it too rehearsed? Should he have cried? Was it too staged?
CBS News consulted a former FBI body language expert to assess Woods’ every gesture and expression. Woods mentioned he would rededicate himself to Buddhism, so The Associated Press interviewed the Dalai Lama, a Buddhist spiritual leader, who admitted he did not know who Woods was.
The mainstream media seem to feel entitled to know every nitty-gritty detail of Woods’ extramarital relations. The speech did not say what many wanted to hear.
“This was largely an exercise in propaganda, with no journalistic checks and balances or input,” wrote a CBS Sports writer. “For all we know, he prepped for the speech like a witness before taking the stand at a trial.”
Many complained that Woods would not take any questions. But Woods is not obligated to answer to the media. His actions were questionable, but there is no indication they were illegal – nor is he a public figure paid by taxpayer money.
If he were a Congressman or a criminal, the media would be entitled to cover his indiscretions and ask their questions. But Woods is a golfer caught in a private issue between a husband and wife. This media circus is not a matter of journalistic obligation.
The media are not the moral watchdogs for every famous person – regardless of how they rose to prominence. Woods became famous for swinging a golf club, not for being faithful to his wife. Whether he was sincere should not be an issue mainstream media has a right to question.
Woods has always tried to keep his personal life private, and no one can say he deserves to be scrutinized for seeking out the public eye. A main priority for Woods seems to be returning to his private life and sparing his family from the media blitz.
“My behavior doesn’t make it right for the media to follow my 2 -year-old daughter to school and report the school’s location,” Woods said Friday in a press conference with limited media members and close friends. “They stalked out my wife and pursued my mom.”
He added, “For the sake of my family, please leave my wife and kids alone.”
The media should listen to Woods, be satisfied with his apology and move on to more important issues.