I haven’t weighed in on media coverage of Tiger Woods because my mouth has been hanging open with amazement.
Of course, no one should be surprised by the entertainment media’s capacity for invasive and voyeuristic journalism.
I call it journalism, even though it causes a distinct wince, because most people consider the celebrity-based coverage of pop stars and athletes that dominates the news to indeed be journalism.
Unfortunately, most folks don’t distinguish between serious coverage of relevent news, which relies on verification of truth before print/airing/posting, and the anything goes if it titillates style of entertainment coverage that now seems to dominate the news.
What left my jaw hanging was that it wasn’t just supermarket tabloids jostling for attention as each new Tiger affair was announced. Many traditional media outlets that once had standards joined the fray.
It’s no wonder the credibility rating of journalists has been plummeting for years.
I saw somewhere that the number of alleged affairs has topped 80. Even semi-legitimate news organizations have reported up to a dozen. Each time a new woman comes forth to claim a liaison with Tiger Woods, there are magazines, Web sites, TV shows, newspapers, blogs galore willing to print the claim, even when it’s probably-most likely-almost certainly phony.
As soon as one blog/tabloid/cable TV show – no matter how questionable its practices – reports a new “sexual liaison,” all the others, even legitimate, serious news organizations, feel compelled to repeat the “published report.” As if something being published makes it true.
At this point, I’m pretty certain that Tiger Woods had an affair. Maybe more than one.
And, like every other human being on the planet, I’m disappointed in Tiger Woods.
But I’m much more disappointed in the news media overall, and particularly in the serious news organizations that threw journalistic standards out the window while reporting every new scurrilous claim.
Shame on Tiger. But Tiger messing up only hurts one man and his family.
When news media fall over themselves to report untruths, halftruths and alleged truths, the damage to all journalists is much more troubling.