At first, this week’s news buzz and online chatter about Tiger Woods’ drama annoyed me, but in the last few days, I’ve grown disgusted by it. No, this isn’t about Tiger. I’m talking about society’s sick addiction to juicy gossip and mainstream media’s choice to serve it up like crack dealers on a playground.
Oh my gosh! A human with flaws! Stop the presses because this is a story far greater than any we’ve ever heard.
The media reacted rabidly to the driveway incident that revealed the golfer is flawed. Oh my gosh! A human with flaws! We’ve never heard of a sports celebrity whose pedestal is teetering beneath him. The golden boy with a fortune trifecta (fat wallet, hot wife, wicked golf handicap) has played Russian Roulette with his brand’s bounty.
Is this it, I asked myself? Is this the kind of nightly news that reflects our nation’s priorities? This isn’t the journalism I studied in school. News has become a prime time circus act for attention. When did news become needy? The truth is, it had grown needy long before Tiger woke up the neighbors when he hit the mailbox.
So what’s a communicator like me to do?
By gosh, I did what any morning news viewer does in a moment like this: I wrote a Dear Robin letter. As tongue-in-cheek as that might sound, the content of my note to Robin Roberts, co-anchor of Good Morning America, is no joke.
My note, which I’ve pasted below, is more than an idle rant; it is a sincere challenge to the GMA team. Are the producers listening, really listening, to what its viewers want to learn? I hope so, which is why I took my plea to Robin Roberts.
My Dear Robin Letter
This is part Rant and part Plea, Robin. It is my reaction after reading yet another story about Tiger…
I’ve said it on Twitter, and I’ll say it here, too.
As a nation, we’re trying to get our feet back underneath us, we’re struggling with political division, families of soldiers are sleepless because of the war… and so much more, yet mainstream media is serving up Tiger speculation?! It’s insulting.
What blows me away is that the news media keeps shoveling it out, despite comments on blogs, other SM outlets and poll responses. I expect no less from scandal chasers such as TMZ, but when trained journalists and news anchors give the speculation a whirl, I lose respect for their ability to recognize cultural priorities. It’s just gross.
Let’s try this… for the folks who feel compelled to express their disappointment, dismay and shock at Tiger’s choices, why don’t we shut up and leave his family alone so that they have the energy and space to face it?
Our society beats its chest about the damage being done. We feign concern over the welfare of the kids, etc. etc., yet we directly or indirectly validate the media and quasi-media outlets that publish stories and photos that will leave a sickening trail for the children to see.
If we’re REALLY serious about holding up the ideals of marriage and fidelity, let’s back away and let people (celebrities or not) face the pain without distraction.
I will stand up and cheer at the top of my lungs when I see a news program say “Enough is enough.” This is not the type of journalism that I studied when I was in college, and I struggle to believe that credible journalists feel good about some of the stories they cover.
Robin, seriously, turn the mirror on your fellow journalists and do a story about this. This isn’t just about Tiger. It’s about mainstream media’s growing neediness.
Is the media ripping the scab off of wounds just so it can report that someone is bleeding? Because, I gotta tell you — there are plenty of gaping wounds that need media attention.
Robin, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.