COMMENTS: Burning Bright

Neither NBC's Mark Potter nor CBS' Randall Pinkston (no link) could resist the tabloid US Weekly's expose of an embarrassed voice-mail, apparently from Tiger Woods to a 24-year-old cocktail waitress. The message worried that Mrs Woods was searching through his telephone contacts. It was "in the wake" of that voicemail--as well as numerous other tabloid reports of infidelity, as NBC's Potter put it--that the golf champion posted a message on his Website: "I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all my heart." As for rumors that Woods and his wife had come to blows on the night that he crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant outside his Florida mansion, "utterly false and malicious," was his Website's comment.

On ABC, John Berman tried to treat a salacious story from a serious public relations and marketing angle instead. Even as Nike and Gatorade decided to stand by their sponsorship deals, Berman pointed to "new damage to his once pristine image." He asked PR strategists what Woods should do when he next competes in a golf tournament. "Win it."


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