A Hoot! for Recognizing that the Media Obsession With Tiger Isn’t Healthy.

Early this year, I gave John Gonzalez a pretty hard time about one of his “columns.” Today, I am going to give him some love – on a piece he wrote about Tiger Woods, no less.

In Monday’s Inquirer, Gonzo explored the reception Woods received at the Augusta National Golf Club, home to the Masters. He opens the piece by noting the reverent manner in which Augusta’s members treat the golf course, noting that one section of the course (holes 11, 12 and 13) is referred to as Amen Corner, and many simply describe the course as “heaven.”

He then segues into the holier-than-thou treatment Woods has received from fans and media, which Gonzo believes, “Says as much about us as it does about him. Probably more.”

Here I might have pointed out that part of that backlash came because of the very carefully-crafted image of Woods that was shattered by his actions, but that’s not really the point.

The point came a few paragraphs down:

“Dan Jenkins – Golf Digest writer, Tiger detractor, and author of the regrettable Y.E. Yang/P.F. Chang’s crack on the Internet a few days ago – couldn’t resist poking at Woods.

‘Something on his mind?’ Jenkins joked on Twitter while Woods’ score went up and down all day.

USA Today’s Christine Brennan also weighed in via Tweet: ‘What’s wrong with Tiger? Some have suggested that perhaps he watched SNL last night.’”

Twitter is just another example of a forum where media have the power to not only set agenda, but also the tone. And in the realm of sports, which already has established footholds in television, the Internet, radio (well, everywhere, really), that conversations is huge. Twitter is another cog in a machine that already feeds on “our collective affinity for scandal and Schadenfreude” and mass-produces it for our viewing, listening, or tweeting pleasure, every single day.

Journalists need to be aware that now, even their tweets help to steer the conversation. Certainly, we all have the right to our opinions, but I believe journalists have the responsibility to carefully consider how – and to what – they add their voice.

Though the story could have used some other voices (and I don’t know that Gonzo used the tweets for the reasons I pointed out so much as because I think he is an avid fan of Twitter), a Hoot nonetheless to Gonzo for pointing out the madness in his industry revolving around Tiger Woods.

– Timothy Rapp

Editor’s Note: The image above is by Reuters via the Daily Mail.

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