On December 3, 2009, The New York Times online published an opinion piece entitled, "Does Tiger Woods Have a Right to Privacy?." This piece reflects on the barrage of news articles about Tiger Woods after he crashed his car and explained it by saying he had been talking on the phone with his wife about another woman at the time of the incident. The Times article brought together the view points of many commentators, including academics, journalists, and commentators, who all responded to whether or not Woods deserved privacy in this matter. The answers ranged from a sympathetic "yes" to a determined "no." My favorite response was from Diana Zimmerman, professor Emerita at NYU's law school. She said, "Truthfully, the best protection for privacy is the willingness of the individual to keep quiet about his personal life." The focus of these answers was not Woods himself, but the culture of celebrity and the respect of personal privacy in America.
The issue is not uncomplicated: journalists in America have the responsibility to provide pertinent information to the American public. The key question then, is what is pertinent? Does it affect the American citizen if Tiger Woods has an affair? What about if an elected official does so? We should ask ourselves what we gain from the news that the media provides. I will still watch Tiger woods play golf, despite his sexual habits. His alleged affairs will not deny me an ounce of pleasure at watching each game unfold. Therefore the story has no impact on my life, and is not pertinent. To come to this conclusion does not infer an attack on the media: journalists for privately owned news outlets will provide what the consumer will buy. We as consumers of news must be responsible for shaping the stories that we are provided by supporting those outlets that give us what we each believe to be pertinent. Reports on sexual scandals, in my opinion, are more shameful to our culture than to the so-called perpetrators.