Editorial by John Ziegler

Media Insanity Solves Mystery of Tiger's Political Beliefs

12/14/2009

As a guy who has run the most famous (infamous?) Tiger Woods “fan” site for almost this entire decade, I am as furious at Woods as anyone but his wife, mother and financial team. He used to be a hero of mine and someone who I honestly thought would one day be President. Now, like much of the rest of the nation, I see him mostly as a joke.
 
However, as disappointed as I am in Tiger, I may have even more disdain for elements of the news media and how their coverage of this saga has been every bit as embarrassing as Tiger’s choice of mistresses.
 
No, I’m not talking about the National Enquirer which, apparently accurately, started the story. Nor am I even referring to TMZ whose machine gun approach and obviously cozy relationship with Gloria Allred has surely resulted in numerous inaccurate stories being repeated there and elsewhere. I’m not even referencing the entertainment “news” TV shows, though the sight of Extra’s Mario Lopez (who reportedly cheated in his quickly disolved marriage to Ali Landry, in much the same way Tiger did to Elin) condemning Tiger’s dirty deeds was rather rich.
 
What has me most outraged is the behavior of what Sarah Palin has appropriately begun to call the “lamestream” media, which have completely abandoned any sense journalistic standards simply because the story was just too ratings-friendly.
 
By far the worst offender here has been NBC and specifically, the Today Show (a program, which, for the record, I have appeared on, and criticized, previously).
 
Monday, for the second straight show, they had on one of Tiger’s mistresses, live, in studio, for extended segments. Last Friday, the Tiger lover in question was also on Dateline NBC under an arrangement that certainly appeared to include NBC indirectly paying for the interview.
 
Now, what exactly was the “news’ value in either of these interviews? Tiger Woods is not a politician, or even a priest. There is no allegation of a crime here. No indication that any public funds were used to support the affairs. Tiger Woods is simply a sports celebrity who had already admitted that he has been a really lousy husband before the Today Show agreed to put these women on national television during alleged “news” programs.
 
Since when is the mistress of a sports celebrity who has already admitted infidelity, remotely “news”? If this is the new standard then I guess we can expect to see a different sports/celebrity mistress every day for several years to come. (Of course, this abandonment of any and all standards usually only comes when it is calculated that the ensuing ratings bonanza will be worth it. My guess is that if Tiger was not multi racial, looked like John Daly, and didn’t have an incredibly hot wife, that the most of this coverage would not have happened at all.)  
 
Not only were these Today Show interviews devoid of anything other than some titillation and perhaps a little insight into the ability of people to rationalize that they are not essentially prostitutes, but there was absolutely no real evidence provided that either of them ever actually had affairs with Woods.
 
Now, I totally believe that both of them did, but whatever happened to needing at least some proof before such an allegation is given that kind of mainstream credibility? Remember when we were told that Gennifer Flowers claims against Bill Clinton were not reliable enough to be given mainstream attention? Heck, it took actual DNA evidence before the “news” media finally accepted that the allegations involving Monica Lewinsky were trustworthy. And just to be clear, Bill Clinton’s infidelities (and ensuing perjuries) were FAR more news worthy than anything Tiger Woods could possibly do in his private life.
 
But perhaps the most remarkable analogy which proves the absurdity of NBC’s Tiger coverage is the comparison to how the John Edwards story was handled.   
 
Edwards was running for PRESIDENT when he had a love child with a woman on his campaign payroll while his wife was dying of cancer. The National Enquirer ran a FAR more substantial story revealing this reality and the reaction of the rest of the media (“news” and otherwise) was complete silence. There were no satellite trucks parked outside the Edwards home forcing him to stay out of the public eye. There was no attempt to pressure the mistress into coming forward. There were no offers of money and “fame” to anyone else who simply claimed to have ever had sex with Edwards.
 
In fact, the story never reached the mainstream at all until Edwards was long gone from the race and Barack Obama had safely secured the nomination, with the help of a highly publicized endorsement from John Edwards.
 
The stark difference in how the Edwards and Woods stories have been handled is so over the top ridiculous that it was essentially the basis for the opening skit for this past weekend’s Saturday Night Live.  They were dead right on this one. The coverage of the Tiger Woods saga is a dangerous joke, which has even further eroded the now nonexistent difference between what is “news” and what people simply want to hear about.
 
As I proved in my documentary “Media Malpractice,” journalism died during the 2008 Presidential election. The coverage of the Tiger Woods saga has simply buried the coffin. But at least the mystery as to Tiger’s true political beliefs has finally been solved. Only a conservative/libertarian could possibly provoke this type of unprecedented and unfair coverage.   

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