Golf and race
January 21, 2008
The new editor of Golfweek magazine said his first job is apologizing for his predecessor's decision to put a noose on the magazine's cover. The issue featured a story on the controversy over Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman, who joked on the air that young golfer's would have to lynch Tiger Woods to end his dominance. Former editor Dave Seanor was fired last week after the magazine came out. (USA Today)
What the commentators said
You don’t have to be “a history professor” to know that “the noose is a harrowing symbol,” said Jeff Jacobs in The Hartford Courant. Golfweek said it was trying to graphically show how controversial Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman’s comments were, but “man, was that the wrong way to go about it.” Only “the Ku Klux Klan” would think Seanor’s solution was a good one. The cover was “meant to inflame,” and “it’s hard to argue the decision” to fire him.
Golfweek made an “insensitive choice,” said Carol Slezak in the Chicago Sun-Times, but that doesn’t mean Seanor “deserved to be fired.” Tilghman’s remarks—that the only way for young players to end Woods' dominance was to lynch him—even “initially flew under the radar,” until Al Sharpton called for her to be canned. The noose is offensive, yes, but “isn’t context important?” The cover was supposed to draw attention to a serious issue, and in that respect “Golfweek did its job.”
Forget the pity, said Drew Sharp in the Detroit Free Press. "Golfweek was dumb." Whereas Tilghman was “guilty of glibness,” Golfweek stands convicted of premeditated “journalistic pandering.” It is important for journalism to discuss race, but if your commentary is “strictly for shock value,” you’re not doing anything but “reaffirming this nation’s steadily shrinking intellect.”
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