CNN, Tiger Woods and the All-Star Tribute that wasn’t


Some weeks ago, on a chilly Friday evening in imagethe Netherlands, I watched CNN. The 24-hour channel was airing its CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute. Live from Los Angeles, California. Big venue. High-profile celebrities and a lot of flash photography. Nicole Kidman, Pierce Brosnan, Neil Patrick Harris, Kate Hudson, Eva Mendes… A Hello! Magazine correspondent’s dream.

Anderson Cooper, hurricane reporter extraordinaire, was hosting the event. In the weeks prior to the 27 November event, there were hours of promotion on TV. The Internet was also full of preview material. I followed the Facebook group.

Takeaway: A huge TV event. An expensive, well-branded awards ceremony. Expectations must have been high for the number of viewers and image (improvement) of CNN.]

About five or 10 minutes into the event: Breaking News. Tiger Woods crashed with his car into a tree in front of his house. He was driving rather slowly, I learned. He was hospitalised.

Those were the facts. The only facts available at that time.

But CNN must have been breaking the news on Tiger Woods for more than an hour. Google Maps was used to show the wounded tree. Vague news reporters came from the hospital where Woods was hospitalised.

An update came in from the hospital: He isn’t here any more.

Yep, that’s what I call breaking news.

Perusing his many online biographies I learn that Tiger Woods, the multi-ethnic and “first black intuitive golfer ever raised in the United States,” is a a Stanford graduate who at age 21 was “the first African-American to win a major.” At age 24 he was “the youngest golf player to complete a career Grand Slam.” By 25 was “the first to hold all four pro Grand Slam titles simultaneously.” And, once, he drove not his tee shot, but his car, into a tree. image

That’s why CNN switched from an expensive ceremony in LA, taking a break from honouring everyday people who selflessly “teach basic reading and writing to kids living in [Filipino] slums.” Who provide “help[...] to veterans struggling with addiction and homelessness,” “clean water to communities worldwide,” “a haven for young victims of sexual abuse” in Zimbabwe, “mobility to disabled children and their families in Iraq” and who have created a “children’s home in one of the poorest areas of Indonesia” and who “bring[...] early detection to the doorsteps of uninsured women” “with mobile mammography vans” in the US.

Funny, isn’t it?

By 2007, Tiger Woods earned more than 94bn dollars on the PGA Tour (63.7 euro) worldwide. Among his biggest contracts are deals with Nike (40m dollars, or 27.m euro) and with American Express (30m dollars/ 20.34m euro). Tiger’s official website lists the following official sponsors: Accenture, AT&T, EA sports, Gatorade Tiger, Gillette Champions, Golf Digest, Netjets, Nike Golf, TAG Heuer, Tatweer: The Tiger Woods Dubai, TLC Laser Eye Centers and Upper Deck.

It would be very sad, if he would lose all this money, because of a small accident or personal misbehaviour, isn’t it?

…and the CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute? As mentioned before, after about an hour of breaking news, CNN switched back to the ceremony. The hero of the year was distinguished. The award handed in. Tears flowed in the audience.

The end.

Nominations for the CNN Heroes 2010 are welcome now. Let’s just hope for the [American] 2010 CNN heroes that during next year’s ceremony, neither Henrik Stenson nor Ian Poulter, John Mallinger, Kevin Na nor Jim Furyk crash into a tree in front of their house.