Full disclosure: I have enormous misgivings over even commenting on the current Tiger Woods story. From a completely personal point of view, I regret that we are so captivated by the sight of a train wreck. Rationalize any way you like; that is what is happening here — and we simply refuse to turn away.
For the past two days we’ve heard every conceivable variation on “it’s the public’s right to know.” The latest (and tax dollars notwithstanding, the most ridiculous) came from a Dallas/Fort Worth radio host this morning who reasoned that this is a legitimate matter of public concern because the fire hydrant that was struck was public property. Really? Is that the best we can do.
Let’s just admit it; we cannot turn our eyes away from an accident. We love dirty laundry. Some of us are self-conscious about it, and avert our eyes when near the gossip rags at grocery check out stands; but when the communication channel (regardless of the source) is CNN or MSNBC or Fox News or an RSS feed, even the most personal of issues becomes worthy of “the public’s right to know.”
That reality saddens me beyond any ability to describe without sounding preachy. But that’s one side of the tale.
The other how Tiger and, presumably his advisors have chosen to mismanage the communication. All feelings aside, this is a public story. And, though I hope I am wrong for the sake of the human beings involved, choosing to say nothing never, ever works.
Unfortunately, stories like this don’t go away when a strategy of silence is embraced. They linger. And often become larger than life.
Great public relations and communication isn’t about “spin” control. It is about coming to grips with and addressing reality. Whatever the story, here’s hoping Tiger Woods listens to some seasoned communications and public relations advice soon. Only then will he and his family find the privacy and quiet they long for today.