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Driven wild by media frenzy

August 30, 2007|By TIM ROWLAND

Commentary

As a member of the media (regrettably) I am sick and tired of dumb people pulling dumb stunts and then blaming us for their problems.

I'm not saying we aren't to blame, I'm just saying that I'm sick and tired of it.

For instance, it is painfully obvious that the media forced astrochick Lisa Nowak to get into her automobile and motor 1,000 miles to perpetuate a catfight with an opponent for a man's affections.

I am also pretty sure that it was the media that, unbeknownst to her, tossed a package of adult diapers into the back seat, just to make the story more interesting.

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Crazy media.

Nowak was in court last week, arguing that she should be relieved of her ankle bracelet, apologizing to the woman she accosted and last but not least, urging the media to leave her alone.

Sorry, Lisa.

I will say this as gently as I can. The time to consider any possible media coverage is BEFORE you haul one-third of the way across the United States to put the whoopin' stick to a rival Tootsie Pop.

You have a lot of time to think when you're driving. And 1,000 miles is going to give you about 15 hours to consider something besides, "Did I leave the iron on?"

Something like, if I, an astronaut, get caught with my diaper down in full freak-out mode, what is the media likely to make of it?

What, you thought we would be too busy covering the important issues of the day, such as global warming, the growing liquidity crunch or the latest Powerball jackpot to notice you?

Ha! You haven't been paying attention to the media lately. Serious issues? Pooh. The only way we would cover, say, the United Nations is if someone on the Security Council forgot to wear his pants.

So no, you can't do a full Tonya Harding and then expect the media not to notice. And if you carry out such a stunt, you sacrifice your right to complain about all the attention you get.

I'll say this in Lisa's defense, though. At least she didn't carry it to the next logical step, which would have been a full spread in Playboy magazine. You know, the way Paula Jones was complaining about the media attention right before she started appearing in more pinups than a luna moth.

If I'm her, though, I'm still holding out for the big reality TV payoff on Fox - like maybe a cross-country, Smokey-and-the-Bandit style car race against the Runaway Bride.

We haven't heard much from her lately, have we? Not since she was out mowing grass as part of her community service. (A fact which, incidentally, really frosted me. For her it was punishment at the hand of the United States judiciary system - for most American males it's simply "Saturday afternoon.")

The RB kept her mouth shut and we lost interest. That would be a good lesson for the Runaway Astronaut. Funny thing about media attention: When you ask for less of it, you are guaranteed to get more.

The RA did apologize to her alleged victim on behalf of the media, though. In a way. Saying she was sorry for "the subsequent public harassment that has besieged all of us."

Do tell? And how much public harassment would you have been subjected to if you had just stayed in Houston and gone to a Rockets game?

Of course, she is the only one besieged by the ankle bracelet, which she told the court is bulky, uncomfortable and expensive - the weekly rental is $105.

Really? That sucks. You have to rent a piece of equipment that exists purely to cause you pain and aggravation? And at the end of the day it's not even yours to keep? We expect this kind of chicanery out of the cable television industry, but not here.

And if it's bulky and uncomfortable - well, just take a page out of Hagerstown, where it's treated less as a punitive measure and more of a fashion statement. I saw a guy in the square showing his off to his compatriots, who were clearly impressed and looked it over as intently as if they were thinking of having one made like it.

See? Mind over matter. And as a member of the media, I make this pledge to everyone who has gotten into hot water because of his or her own actions: We'll generally keep quiet if you will.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324 or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on www.antpod.com.

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