None of that was surprising in this day and age. Particularly when a sports hero of Tiger's stature ran into these sort of personal problems. (A "perfect storm" for today's entertainment-driven media)
I grew tired of this story after the first few days. Yes, I was surprised and interested, at first, to learn about Woods having so many affairs with different women. That was unusual, but, after his multiple philandering became clear, I lost interest.
Now, I think part of this is because I'm not a Tiger Woods fan, or, even, a golf fan...but, I realized, as the saga unfolded, that there was something else affecting my sensibility around this story.
It was the context that goes with disclosure of adultery by a public figure. I realized I've learned about so many, many public figures - including many politicians - having affairs that the cumulative impact has caused me to have some burnout or indifference on this topic. Nothing surprises me anymore. I mean: What have we not heard at this point? It was hard to top President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky's escapades. Let's see, in the past year or two, we've had stories about former NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer, former US Sen. John Edwards, US Sen. John Ensign, Gov. Mark Sanford. I still recall the media's crushing coverage of Gary Hart's affairs in 1987. So, the "novelty" of the media aggressively exposing someone's affair is a thing of the past, but, other aspects of this phenomenon bother me.
I've grown tired of how the public and media so, so enjoy feasting on the flaws, problems and vulnerabilities of public people, who, after all, are human beings first and celebrities second. The issues around the adultery and marital difficulties and crises of public figures are personal. They have no impact on the rest of us. Our lives are not impacted.
Yet, when you watch the television media, in particular, report on the day-to-day developments relating to a story, or, soap opera such as Tiger Woods' recent struggles, they report the news as if it is something of such magnitude and immediacy that we all should know - we all need to know about all the details. What a farce. They should put a subtitle at the bottom of your TV screen that says: "Covering Tiger Woods' affairs helps our ratings - that's why we're doing this."
I understand that one can argue that a limited amount of reporting on this Woods story might be "justified" on some level, but, no one can convince me that most of the coverage has been necessary or natural or right. I've felt this way more and more about these adultery stories.
The problem is we've all grown accustomed to the blurring of boundaries - which, years ago, used to separate entertainment from news, and, yes, public figures' personal lives from being juxtaposed next to foreign policy developments in newscasts.
I'm always reminded of how the coverage of the OJ Simpson trial in the mid-1990s marked a turning point downward in how the media began to glaringly blur the line between news and entertainment. It began with the networks providing OJ's live Bronco chase to the minute-by-minute reporting of the trial - as if it was all-encompassing news story greatly impacting all of our well-being.
I guess the coverage of Tiger Woods has just reminded me of how disgusted I am with television news coverage in this country. I cannot believe the extent to which attempting to attract higher ratings drives everything from local weather forecasts to excessive coverage of murder stories to repeating reckless public statements of people without identifying they are false. Similarly, I cannot believe how an obsession with ratings has helped create a climate that allows figures like reactionary Glenn Beck to survive, or, succeed on TV despite Beck's irresponsibility and tasteless low standards.
OK, maybe it's a leap to go from the Tiger Woods story to discussing Glenn Beck, but, to me, we live in a media environment that disregards the truth and rewards the sensational at any cost.
The Tiger Woods story, unfortunately, will probably receive coverage for a long time, because it simply attracts ratings too high to be ignored. And, the ratings, unfortunately, are all that counts.