Monday, December 14, 2009

How a Media Holiday Turns a Tiger into a Fat Cat

Tiger Woods, champion golfer, drives the ball ...Image via Wikipedia

When news broke of legendary professional golfer Tiger Woods’ cheating on his wife, the news media was all over it like a rat on cheese.

Who could blame them? There was not much else going on in the world to report – or at least nothing newsworthy.

Every year, from around the middle of December to the middle of January the following year, the media takes a holiday, or so it seems. Political bodies boldly declare “enough is enough” and close up shop. Canada’s Parliament is already on holiday, meaning if you want to get hold of your local Member of Parliament (MP) you’ll have to wait until the New Year.

Many provincial and local politicians are also on vacation, only reachable in the most extreme of emergencies.

Big business is taking a holiday break too; as people from the highest positions, to even us lay people, take some much needed rest from a busy year.

All of these vacations means there just isn’t much going on around us, so aside from covering that crazy neighbor down the street that put up a life-size replica of Mary and the Baby Jesus, there really isn’t much for the news media to cover.

So when a celebrity scandal like the numerous sexual conquests of the married with kids Tiger Woods hits, the media goes crazy. Granted they would have gone crazy no matter when the story on Tiger Woods broke, but to still be leading the six o’clock news pack is due to the lack of other headline grabbing news. There really isn’t anything that far reaching in the story to justify it continuing to be the top story. We know Tiger Woods had affairs with many women, across the globe, now move onto something else.

Many famous celebrities have got caught with their pants down in sex scandals – the most notable being former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who not only got caught in the act, he almost got himself impeached for lying to Congress about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky back in the 1990’s.

President Clinton’s affair got much more coverage – so far – than Woods – however both got far more coverage than necessary.

Many people have affairs, the only reason we hear so much about celebrities is because they are in the so-called “lime light,” and constantly under the media microscope.

The only difference between Tiger Woods, President Clinton or any of the other celebrities that got caught in sex scandals from you and me, is their fame and fortune.

Though it is times like these, where being rich and famous isn’t a good thing, as the more money and fame a person has, the more it will cost them to get out of their sexual mess.

If the news media weren’t so intently focused on the actual tabloid-trashy gossip of the scandal itself, maybe they would actually delve deeper and explore the socio-economic, anthropological or even the psychological conditions which form the basis for why these things happen, and teach us something about ourselves and our society.

There are many theories about why people involved in monogamous, long-term relationships have affairs. From genetics which say we are pre-programmed to spread our DNA to as many different partners as possible to continue our species; to socio-economic theories which show us throughout human history that the more money a person has, the more power a person has to explore multiple sexual relationships, to psychological theories which say things about how when a person cheats on a spouse, it is a sign of deeper problems needing resolution within the long-term relationship.

But instead of providing news which might actually better society, the focus of these celebrity sex scandals is the celebrity, and not the deeper meaning for us all.

Maybe the news media has taken a holiday, like many others this time of year?
Or more likely, the news media is a business and uses flashy tabloid-trashy stories to lure in readers, listeners and watchers, which in turn increase their ability to sell advertising, which pays the fat cats that own the newspapers, television and radio stations.

So it’s the fat cats behind the business of news gathering, keeping you ill informed, so they can make a fast buck.

Happy reading, watching and listening!

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