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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger takes a bite out of the tabloids

Golf that doesn’t involve a windmill is of no interest to me. Neither is Tiger Woods’ life, public or private.
I think I’m in the minority, given the gazillion Web postings about his womanizing ways and the sponsors that dumped the man who could no longer be their role model. One friend told me Friday that a week after Woods’ accident she was in a pool to guess how many women he had.
When you’re the world’s top golfer, you make millions in endorsements, and you have a foundation to help kids, you set yourself up on a pedestal. And when it’s discovered you’re toppling from that pedestal, people can’t wait to push you over.
“Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions,” Tiger said Friday in his televised apology, which I made sure to stream live on The Saratogian Web site. It was news.
Fair or not, people who become public figures, by choice or circumstance, are fair game for gossip. “Private life” becomes an oxymoron. People are judged, ridiculed and condemned for behavior that ought to be considered irrelevant. The mainstream media sometimes rely on the thinnest of justifications for prying into people’s lives.
“No matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake,” Woods said. “The right to some simple, human measure of privacy.
Woods’ words struck a chord for me. I feel sorry about the excessive intrusion into the lives of people trashed by the tabloids and a little embarrassed to be part of the profession responsible for fueling it. This goes for golfers, governors, former congressmen and Olympic athletes. If not reveling in people’s troubles makes me a bad journalist, please accept my apology.

Barbara Lombardo is managing editor of|The Saratogian. Readers may e-mail her at|


Anonymous Norm Boyea said...

Wow, could not agee more. For weeks now every one I know tells me I'm wrong for saying it's the Wood's business only and not ours. Good opinion Barb.

February 22, 2010 at 1:04 AM 

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