Once in awhile, it seems editors do something just to grab attention. For themselves, for their publications or for their sports.
If you’re not familiar with this practice, pick up the Post.
So when the Post recoils at an editorial decision, it may be time to take a step back.
Golfweek — one of two weekly magazines devoted entirely to…well, you know — has been lambasted in the press recently for the cover to the left.
The cover was in response to Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman suggestion that young players could “lynch (Tiger Woods) in a back alley,” to end his dominance.
OK, first things first. Tilghman obviously screwed up. But she’s friends with Tiger, apologized to him and the best golfer in the world likely would not be friends with a racist. Secondly, this WAS a non-story. Tilghman messes up, Tilghman suspended. But third, who the hell uses the word “lynch” in their daily life? Seriously, why would that even pop into the lady’s head?
BUT (and a big BUT here), the Golfweek cover was extremely overblown. It reeks of a publicity stunt, an attempt to sell more covers. In addition to the image of a noose, the text isn’t even creative. “Caught In a Noose”? Who says that? When your boss catches you on boobs.com at lunch, do you think, “Shit, I’m really caught in a noose now”?
Despite the controversy, the editor of Golfweek, Dave Seanor, defended his decision to run the cover:
“We’re a weekly news magazine. The big story of the previous week was Kelly Tilghman, and that’s what we chose,” Seanor said. “How to illustrate that? It was tough. Do you put Kelly Tilghman out there? But was it so much about her or the uproar?”
I think I probably would have gone with Kelly Tilghman over an image which is offensive to a large number of Americans. The logic here compares to saying, “I published those pictures of Mohammed so that people could see why everyone’s outraged.” (Which, surprisingly, was the exact logic a few newspapers used)
Seanor went on to say,
“Most people who are objecting to it – within the golf industry – are saying this episode was just about over,” he said. “I think it’s indicative of how, when you bring race and golf into the same sentence, everyone recoils. . . Look at the executive suites at the PGA Tour, or the USGA, or the PGA of America. There are very, very few people of color there. This is a situation in golf where there needs to be more dialogue. And when you get more dialogue, people don’t want to hear it, and they brush it under the rug. This is a source of a lot of pushback.”
Nothing about this statement is false. Almost everyone in golf is as white as the Huckabee family. However, few people would choose to show a picture of a noose to start this discussion. And as we’ve all seen, the discussion that followed wasn’t about race in golf, it was about nooses on the cover of magazines and the editorial decisions that lead to them.
Seanor did step back a bit by saying:
“I wish we could have come up with something that made the same statement but didn’t create as much negative reaction. But as this has unfolded, I’m glad there’s dialogue. Let’s talk about this, and the lack of diversity in golf.”
Sociologist Harry Edwards summed this up rather well to USA Today:
“If we stopped the train every time somebody made a dumb remark that is potentially offensive,” he is quoted as saying, “we’d never progress as a society.”
We’d be “caught in a noose,” as some might say.
In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that FynalCut worked as an editor for Golfweek for about a year.
UPDATE: Is this really any better?
Haha, Golfweek made a huge mistake. Now, to show you how stupid and irresponsible they were, let’s perpetuate a bunch more racial stereotypes! Fun for all!