On February 23rd at 7:00 am in California, Tiger Woods was in a one-car vehicle accident. The car ran off the road and flipped on its side in an embankment. It wasn’t long after the car accident that pictures and details were posted all over the media and news outlets, including, but not limited to, Twitter & Instagram. It even made the tri-state area 5:00 evening news. If this wasn’t an accident featuring a celebrity, would it still be plastered all over the media and news sites? Most likely not.
Shortly after the accident, Woods was rushed to the hospital where he received surgery on his injuries. Did Woods sign off on the allowance to use pictures of his damaged vehicle? Or how about the details of his surgery? Was he able to provide consent in his own words before new sources splashed articles on their websites and media pages? I do not believe that he did. As of today, February 24th, there are articles about Woods’ accident on the websites of CNN, ESPN, TMZ, Fox Business, Fox News, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, and many more.
So what? I bring this up because is this ethical? What if Woods did not want his damaged car and injuries to be plastered all over the news? Thankfully Woods seems to be stable and okay, but what if he was not? What if he died? Would his family be able to process this information before the news and media outlets used headlines to get people to click? Sure some news and media outlets want to inform, but what deciphers them from the outlets using clickbait to make money? I don’t know for sure how to answer that question, but if I were to guess the families would not be able to process this in peace.
Is the privacy of a famous person ripped away entirely when they reach a certain level of “fame” and “status?” We can compare this to the way TMZ reported on Kobe Bryant’s death before his family even knew about it. The way the media was used to harass Brittney Spears to the point of hysteria. Most media and news sources used Woods’ accident to mention things from his past. Like the CNN article (attached below) they go on to talk about his past legal issues and “the ups and downs of Tiger’s career.” Is this necessary?
I think it is important for the news and media to update regular civilians on the status of the happenings of people in the public eye, but to what extent? What is too much when it comes to media coverage for celebrities? Does their consent matter? Where do we draw the line and if someone crosses the line, who is to hold them accountable?
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