12.04.2009

Wagging the Tiger

I was lucky this week. I was in meetings, in dinners, in planning sessions ... and away from the 24-hour news cycle. Had it been the opposite, I would've seen the car crash about the car crash, and learned all that there isn't to know about Tiger Woods.

Without judging the rightness or wrongness of his personal transgressions, I can say this: I'm rooting for him to win one for privacy.

I've read a fair bit of knee-jerk chatter about how his statements are too lawerly, and not PR enough. And I've seen others say that he needs to go on Oprah or Barbara or some other show and spill his guts before the world in order to make this shitstorm go away. But I couldn't disagree more.

Would Tiger's life would be better today had he given a titillating mea culpa to Larry King last Tuesday? Unlikely.

Look at the size of the media circus right now. It's galactic, and they barely have a shred of information to move on. Imagine if they had a 60 minute press conference to dive into, to parse for every hidden meaning, and to use as an excuse to dig deeper into his family and friends' lives. It'd be like pouring gasoline on a campfire. For a year.

It's true that one role of PR is to maximize media coverage. But that does not mean that every situation calls for catering to the spotlight.

Feeding red meat to scandal-ready "journalists" is not PR. It's pandering, and it weakens the cracking foundation of journalism.

Tiger may well be a total jerk, and he may be a serial philanderer. But while his personal life is none of my business, advocating for a healthy media culture certainly is.

Somewhere, someday, somebody is going to stare down the paparazzi media culture and win. I hope I'm there to see it.

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