I’m willing to bet there were dozens, if not hundreds, of minor traffic accidents in North America on Friday. Many people, no doubt, were taken to hospital, treated for minor cuts and then released. None of them made the news. None of them was Tiger Woods.
Celebrity is a news story hole-in-one as far as the media are concerned. Things that would be ignored if they happened to you or me are scrutinized and their significance is amplified when they happen to someone well known. The minor traffic accident Woods had on Friday is big news.
Woods made matters worse by waiting two days to make a statement. By then speculation was higher than one of his nine-iron shots. Even though he denied the “false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me” as irresponsible, the damage had been done.
It will be very difficult for Woods to keep this a private matter. “I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be,” he says on his website.
No you don’t Tiger.
When you accepted those hundreds of millions of dollars in appearance fees and endorsements there was a cost. You became a public figure and a media target.
The fact is that Woods has had a bit of a free ride so far. His temper tantrums on the course and moodiness in interviews has been ignored or even excused by commentators who stand in awe of his golfing ability.
That could change and now we could start to read more about his flaws and foibles. But none of this is the fault of the media. Reporters and editors are there to sell papers. They wouldn’t publish stories that didn’t sell.
Bringing celebrities down a notch sells.