Wednesday, December 2, 2009
The Blame Game
It has been a week since Tiger Woods dropped from demigod to “regular dude that struggles with the same shit we all struggle with,” and it’s been a strange, strange situation.
It seems that fingers have been pointed in all directions, as they should be, and on Wednesday, Tiger finally broke the silence. He apologized to his family and his friends, admitting, “I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect.” The problem is, we haven’t let any of that be true since he hit our golf scene with that first junior Amateur trophy. He was more than that. He was perfect.
So, the blame game begins. Who is at fault for all this stuff. Read on to find out.
Tiger Woods -- He wrecked, he cheated, he stayed quiet for far too long, he is a bad, bad man. That sentence probably reads like what most feel about the best golfer of our generation at this point. He shouldn’t be doing that when he has a wife and a family. He knows that. We know it. Hell, his kids probably know that. Do I feel tricked by Tiger? Not really. He deals with the opposite of what most men in this world deal with. He is tossed opportunities the likes of which most men fantasize about on a daily basis. Does that make it okay? Of course not. Does that make it somewhat understandable? Depends on which chromosome you possess.
For some reason, in these situations, I always tend to side with the celebrity. Maybe it’s because I never believe the Kobe Bryant thing (and still don’t), and maybe it’s because only a crazy girl looking for attention far past a night with Tiger Woods would save a voicemail for that long.
Whatever the case, Tiger is at fault for cheating. Bad Tiger. Go to your room.
The Media -- This thing took a life of its own. Fast. I’m talking Usain Bolt fast. He went from seriously injured to injured to club bearing wife beats ass to whatever else came about it. It’s what tends to be the bad side of our journalistic world. I am just as much at fault as anyone. One of the first thoughts that popped in my head during this whole thing was the words “holy shit” and “page views.” It’s the business we work for (And you also must remember, I used to be team AOL, who tended to bang “page views and unique visitors” down our throat like we were Bree Olson (note to my mother ... don’t Google her)).
In our news world, no matter the truth of the matter, it is reported. I wish that would change, but it won’t. Ever. If people think it will, they are living in a different time with horse carriages and people that tend to read books in front of a fireplace instead of surf the net with “Real Housewives” on in the background. It isn’t going to change. Sure, it sucks, and sure, if you and I were famous we would hate it, but that is the belly of the beast. If you do something wrong, everything humanly possibly that is related to the story will float to the surface. There is no chaining dead bodies down in the Hudson anymore. This is Media 2010. Get used to it, even if you hate it.
The New York Times -- Okay, I’m going to toss around a hypothetical situation here. Say some guy, we’ll call him Wiger Toods, gets in a late night wreck, and information comes out sketchy, and stories start being tossed around, and the word “affair” is involved. Now, say Wiger’s apparent affair was with some lady, we’ll call her Uachel Rchitel (sorry, my creative side is on fire right now), is in the crosshairs of it all. Now, you go and talk to her about the situation, pull great quotes and post them on your website. A while later, another guy goes and talks to her, gets the same quotes, and posts them online. Who would you say scooped the story? YOU DID!!!!
Ryan Ballengee at Waggle Room did just this. He talked to Rachel first during this whole thing, posted it on his site, only to have most media agencies point towards the New York Times because, for some reason, they’re a more established online presence? Listen, that is absolute bullshit. Ballengee did exactly what mainstream media bitches at blogs about all the time ... he went and got the story! They always say blogs sit back and criticize and make judgements from the stands. This time, Waggle Room did not, and yet he gets no credit? If the New York TImes really had any credibility, they would have pointed their story towards Waggle Room, hat-tipping it or something. Sadly, when it comes to the Internet, the big boys in the newsrooms have the courtesy of dine and ditch candidates. Shame on you, NYT. You handled this situation the same way Tiger did in the beginning. Stayed quite when you shouldn’t have.
Ladies -- (Note: If you are a lady, you probably won’t like a lot of this, but life ain’t fair ... also, if you’re a nice lady that doesn’t do any of this, I apologize (oh, and call me ;-)) I can’t eat a buffet without a chef, and guys can’t cheat without the option of cheating. The “boy he’s a celebrity so I’m going to do whatever I can to get in his pants for the story” thing that goes on in some ladies brains has become the biggest Catch 22 in our society. You hate men that cheat yet you’re tossing your vagina around anything that has a black card like it’s a frisbee at camp? How does this make any sense.
Listen, I’ll admit something. If I was Tiger, I couldn’t have kept straight. No way. Absolutely Z-E-R-O chance. Anywhere he goes, every lady at the bar/club/restaurant/golf tournament wants him in their bed. How is he supposed to handle this? The guy is as mentally tough as any athlete ever, so if he can’t do, a regular Joe sure as hell couldn’t.
Also, and I’m going to go there ... if you are saving voicemails for months and months in hopes of burning some guy just to become famous, you should be crucified right next to him. Your whole purpose in life is to get some dirt on someone so that you can potentially ruin everything they stand for? And you know you are doing this to begin with!?!?! That, my friends, is the difference in men and women. Men see a naked lady and think, “Boy, someone is getting lucky tonight.” Women see a naked man and think, “How can I spin this in my favor in the near future.” We might think with our dicks, but you’re thinking with some sort of “I’m gonna get mine” mentality that sure isn’t healthy for anyone.
Cadillac -- Guys, you gotta make that Escalade handle better in compromising situations. Shit ain’t cheap.
Tiger’s PR Team -- Honestly, could they have failed anymore? Were they on vacation? Does he even have one at this point?
I know it’s easy to coach from the sidelines, but when a 26-year-old kid that runs a blog for a living has a better idea of how to handle a certain situation than people that do this for a living (and make a ton of money at that), it probably isn’t your shining moment.
So, with that, here are the five steps to helping your client when shit gets fishy.
1.) Just admit the truth. It prevails anyway, so get it out there.
2.) Make sure you know exactly what is coming before we do. Know some crazy chick has a voicemail from Tiger that she is planning on selling to US Weekly? Offer her more for it. TIGER HAS A BILLION DOLLARS!!
3.) Stick to your story. It needs to be the truthful story, but don’t give the public the runaround. We might be dumb as hell when it comes to national affairs, but when it involves gossip, this country is basically a Harvard senior class.
4.) Act quickly. Our world moves fast. If you don’t, we will.
5.) Do your homework. There seemed to be a lot of stuff released this week that the PR team knew nothing about. If your client is as famous as Tiger, at least get the dirt yourself before we get it first.