HEADLINES AND HYPOCRISY
MELBOURNE, December 8, 2009 - One of the corporate media’s most profitable techniques is to create a headline-catching celebrity and then work relentlessly to dismantle their own iconic creation. The message from this winning formula is always the same: See how easily the rich and famous can fall from grace?
With this recipe the media harvests profits at both ends.
First the build up attracts audiences, increases ratings, readerships and advertising. Next the decline and downfall of the icon earns similar lucrative revenue from the feeding frenzy of an inquisitive public, a public nurtured to expect more and more tantalizing details, first of the glory and then the downfall.
The concoction becomes particularly tasty when an element of hypocrisy is added to the brew, when the icon’s holier then holy image is not just sullied but finally torn apart to reveal a demon behind a mask of righteousness.
A dramatic example of this buildup-and-teardown method is the case of golfer Tiger Woods. He was media-promoted as the first billionaire athlete in history. He became the darling of the corporate propaganda which proclaimed him the greatest golfer of all times with a silky smooth Mr Clean image and thus (for the gullible public) an example to propriety, family devotion and modesty until………….
….One night last month the Tiger crashed into a fire hydrant at two o’clock in the morning while driving out of his home. His wife, a very pretty blonde Swedish lady, chased the car with one of Tiger’s golf clubs and smashed the back window. Her story is this: She wanted to liberate her husband trapped inside. The instant speculation was that she acted in deadly anger after a domestic argument over Tiger’s stray infidelities.
Both the Tiger and his wife stuck to their stories though the media was now in overdrive. Low and behold a good-time New York party girl was discovered going in and out of a Melbourne luxury hotel in which the Tiger had a suite during the Australian Open tournament - but she had no accommodation. The lady denied any amorous liaison with Tiger Woods (which prompted the scandal sheets to speculate she was paid a million dollars to keep her mouth shut).
In a world where notoriety means celebrity status – or cash for telling it all to checkbook journalists – no one was surprised that within the next week three more women surfaced claiming to have had a relationship with the golf star. Comedians around the world had a party-time with sketches how many more would come out of the woodworks. Some claimed the toll now stood at twelve.
The stories of these ‘mistresses’, real or imagined, will sell millions of copies and dismantle Tiger Wood’s carefully groomed image of a very private family man, an image that brought him tens of millions of dollars in ‘clean guy’ publicity deals.
What is so nauseating about this and other similar cases is not the gleeful revelations of the corporate media - that’s their job - but how quickly mediocre individuals rush forward with hypocritical scolding, among them two professional golfers who have never shown much talent on the course. One of them, Ben Crane, was quoted as saying Woods was a ‘phony and a fake and he can’t retain that squeaky-clean endorsement deal any longer.”
Another, Charles Warren, speculated the Tiger’s pretty wife had been blinded by his fame and his money – and probably knew all about his infidelities.
It is always amazing how the mass media manages to tear down idols with the instant help of hypocrites, usually members of the same profession, who can barely hide their envy and ambitions and are always anxious to jump on the bandwagon of morality, telling the world: ‘Look I am clean, he is dirty.’
The trouble is: These types usually turn out to be fakes themselves.