Media’s Obsession with Destroying Lives
Tiger Woods is an imperfect human being. Of course that is not newsworthy, but either is the fact he recently was charged with DUI in Jupiter, Florida. But, the media frenzy that followed represented the media’s obsession with destroying other’s lives.
Sports fans watched Tiger Woods professional golf career in awe as in his early 20’s took the golfing world by storm. He made golf fun and opened the sport up to many who had never given it notice. A back injury sidelined Tiger in 2009, but his celebrity status was shining brightly. In November 2009, Tiger was plastered all over the news with scandalous accusations that he had extra-marital affairs on his then wife, Elin Nordegren. Several days later, Tiger was involved in a minor traffic accident in his Cadillac Escalade. Speculation began immediately about what had occurred. Wild rumors spread about Elin chasing Tiger down the street with a golf club due to the affairs being revealed. Tiger later admitted to “transgressions” and apologized to harming his place as a role model. Tiger took an absolute beating in the media and lost countless amounts of dollars in endorsements. The media feed its obsession to relentlessly rip apart those in its bulls-eye. Tiger disappeared.
Since the horrific end to 2009, Tiger Woods has been essentially a non-factor in golf or as a celebrity. He would spark curiosity as his private relationships were revealed, but nothing that elevated him to his once high throne of sports celebrity.
In 2017, Tiger Woods was vocal about making a comeback to the PGA and his golfing career. On May 29, Tiger was found asleep at the wheel of his car by a police officer. After an investigation, Woods was arrested for DUI-Drugs. This sparked the media machine’s hunger to feed on Tiger again. The following days was again relentless to Tiger. Nothing was off limits. Every mistake Tiger had ever made was again spotlighted by every major network. Tiger once again was on the menu. Granted he placed himself in a bad spot, but the ultimate newsworthiness of the most recent incident was minor at best. Being a celebrity, the news of unscrupulous behavior always has a tinge of newsworthiness, but not to the extent the media hammers away.
Sports figures and celebrities aren’t the only targets of the news media. Political figures from local jurisdictions to the national political scene are often relentlessly torn apart. The media will also go after their own on occasion. Bill O’Reilly was a recent victim of the same kind of feeding frenzy, but since he had the top political commentary program in the nation, made him fair game. Those who shouldn’t be fair game are the non-celebrity victims.
Police officers, military personnel, teachers, etc, can find themselves in the food chain of the media if not careful. Careers have been destroyed, families split, and lives devastated by reporters looking to sensationalize the circumstances for ratings is an every day occurrence. The media won’t stop until they completely level those in their path. The question has to be raised as to why this tactic continues to used.
The answer may be in the desperate nature of the media business. You have to sell advertising to sell spots during the news that pays the salaries of those who report. The career field has been cut significantly in the past twenty years. The desire to scoop stories and draw attention is a successful tactic. Fox News continuously has “Breaking News” graphics on the screen to lure the viewers in. This attracts viewers, but diminishes the meaning of “breaking” when it comes to news. The public is becoming desensitized to some of the sensational methods of the media. This forces the media to resort to the most outrageous sensational news making cycles. What is more sensational than watching a once successful sports celebrity be torn down bit by bit?