February 23, 2010
The only people truly innocent in this entire Tiger Woods story -- Tiger and Elin's two children -- are, unfortunately, continuing to play an unwitting role. In his public statement on Friday, Woods specifically called out the paparazzi who took photographs of his children. It was a heartfelt moment, and anyone who's a parent can understand the rage and anger at photographers pushing their way into his children's world.
Casual observers have lumped all media into a voracious, bloodthirsty mass, but that's just flat-out incorrect. The simple truth is that tabloid media is far removed from more traditional journalistic sources. Whether you believe, for instance, that a news organization should quote an anonymous source is a matter of personal opinion. (This site has done so, but always prefacing such use with an indication that you, the reader, should be very skeptical of the source's words.) But there are certain practices in journalism which are, indeed, unethical and wrong.
While I can't speak for all journalists, I'd assume that most reputable ones -- that is, the ones in search of the story rather than the sensationalist angle -- would agree that Tiger's children should be off-limits. They're not part of the story, and staking out day care centers to snap photographs of them is lurid and beneath contempt.
Tiger and Elin have recognized the hardship that their story has brought to the families of their daughter's preschool, and have issued an apology. The text of the letter, as obtained by Orlando TV station WFTV, is as follows:
We would like to share our appreciation for your support over the past several months and offer our personal apology for any inconvenience you are experiencing due to the increased media scrutiny surrounding our children. We truly understand how frustrating it can be.
We hope that the paparazzi will find something better to do with their time in the near future. In the meantime, it is our goal to keep life as normal as possible for our children. We are sure that as parents you can appreciate that. For Sam, that normalcy means attending the school that she enjoys so much.
According to WFTV, an off-duty Orange County deputy served as security at the school, though there is no indication who paid for the deputy's time.
You can make very good arguments for whether the Woods story is a personal or a public matter; there's plenty of evidence for both sides. But there's no reason whatsoever, beyond prurient self-interest, for tabloids to stake out and photograph Woods' children. None at all.
For further updates and other golf news, click here to bookmark Yahoo! Sports' Devil Ball Golf and follow us on Twitter. Click here to access all our stories on the Tiger Woods controversy.