Doing Unto Others?

Even Tiger Woods was – according to some reports – taken aback by the extent of the media scrutiny after his crashing of a car then revealed that he might have been having at least one extra-marital affair.

If the world’s most recognisable sportsperson can be found to be relatively innocent of just how determined the media can be when it has a juicy tale in its sights, then what hope the rest of us?

If there is any sympathy with his predicament – that he is just a person with an exceptional gift for hitting a golf ball – then it has to be tempered by the fact that – by dint of his, no doubt, lucrative advertising contracts – he has hardly made it a point to be as private as possible.

Of course, not every person who has found themselves under the media spotlight has invited it beyond doing something that is considered ‘in the public interest’.

The serving police constable who so happens to have been adulterous can, with a bit of bad luck, find their name and misdeeds splashed across the pages of any number of newspapers.

As former Daily Record assistant news editor, Derek Masteron, implied the other day, when announcing his move into PR, on behalf of the Red Cross, his previous job carried the power to ‘ruin people’s lives’ (and now he’s involved in an organisation dedicated to saving them).

But hacks can be the most thin-skinned of folk. They like gossip until it’s they who become the centre of it. It would be almost impossible for journalists to do their job if they were to operate by the mantra: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’

It would be nice to think, though, that they at least see the irony of their position. Perhaps at the end of a long night of Christmas revelling, perhaps even the worse for wear, with the risk of word filtering back, perhaps accompanied by photographs.