Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Golfweek's Hypocrisy

I do not get Golfweek in print in the mail. I read it online to get my golf news - just like all people in my cohort. But, Steve Elling brought to my attention, through his blog, that this week's Golfweek cover probably went a little too far in conveying the controversy surrounding Kelly Tilghman and her lynch remark.

First, the cover image.

Now, some from Elling's blog entry...

Traditionally conservative Golfweek magazine, one of the game's two national weekly magazines, is courting considerable controversy by putting an image of a hangman's noose on its next edition. ...

"There was a great deal of debate over it," Golfweek editor Dave Seanor said Wednesday of the magazine's in-house deliberations. "But it was the news of the week, no question about it. That's what everybody in the game is talking about." ...

That's surely one way to garner attention on an issue that's nearly two weeks old. Seanor said the magazine is prepared for the backlash. Staff members have reported receiving several phone calls from readers already.

The thing is, no matter where fans, readers and viewers stand on the matter of whether Tilghman should be fired, the provocative image of the noose is viewed almost universally as repulsive. True enough, Seanor said.

I respect Dave Seanor. I've conversed with him on several occasions and I've always enjoyed it. He's smart and in tune with the golf world, and willing to help someone trying to improve their capabilities as a pseudo-journalist (me).

I don't think this decision is a good one at all, though. In fact, I think it's quite hypocritical. I pointed out last week that the golf writers in the country continue to write about the Kelly Tilghman comment. The prevailing sentiment in each of the columns written is largely the same: don't rail Kelly, she made an honest mistake, and now we move on from here so just drop the issue.

The issue becomes difficult to drop, though, when a new version of the same column appears in a magazine or newspaper. Golfweek's own Jeff Rude was among the first asking fans to drop the issue and forgive Tilghman for her gaffe. His own publication is not dropping the issue, though. They are devoting a cover to it - a cover that contains the image of a symbol that is becoming reborn in the southern influenced parts of the country as notice of racial deference, e.g., the Jena 6 case.

In essence, the cover propagates the coverage of the comment. It is continuing the news cycle on this particular story. I think that is unfortunate and inappropriate. The media should not be in the business of continuing to cover itself. It happens in varying forms, from when ESPN says that their reporters are reporting a story that someone else broke, to a magazine drawing other ink for making a controversial cover about a controversial media story. It can be enough to make the average sports fan's head spin at times.

The irony of this post is that the ploy is working. Elling, myself, and others are writing about what is being written and shown as a symbol of what Kelly Tilghman said. Maybe I should be lumped in with the crew that I am lambasting, but I thought this issue deserved a special comment.


Tyler Corlen said...

Golfweek's stupidty needed to be brought to light.
Golf Journal

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