Surely, you've heard by now that a certain sideline reporter for the four-letter network had her privacy invaded by an unnamed party with a camera pointed through an opening in a hotel where she was staying. Reports from TMZ.com tend to indicate that the voyeur-in-question may have been a co-worker of Erin Andrews at the network and part of the game day crew, allegedly. This was a tasteless act committed without Andrews knowledge or permission that is virtually becoming sensationalized and has blown up every conceivable news outlet there is.
Deadspin blogged about it and posted a link to the footage of Andrews. The 'Spin editor A.J. Daulerio has since apologized, though no one knows if he had his fingers crossed while he did it. Bill O'Reilly played clips of the video in question on his show, live on television. Not a surprise considering the source, but even he should know better. Andrews' employer, ESPN, is trying everything to stop people from seeing this nude video of one of their prized employees, including banning New York Post personalities from their shows. Not a major loss, but if the sports network keeps rooting out those news services that put Andrews' unclothed, blurred out pics online it makes you wonder if they secretly want to keep this story going. Sure they would like for it to go away, yet are drawing more attention and curiosity from its audience just so the network can sweep this unfortunate incident under their rug.
The revealing of sports celebrities or on-air personalities private lives is nothing new in the era of twitter and internet blogging. With that comes some distortion of the truth at time. While most of Bengals receiver Chris Henry's mistakes have been well-documented, I'm sure now all he has to do is look at some over served fan the wrong way and next thing you know he's back to being the old Chris Henry.
What separates this incident from ones involving other visible sports personalties, is that Ms. Andrews is a beautiful, pinup-style sideline reporter who has not herself attracted undue attention from her actions. Andrews has at times seemed to play to the frat-boy, party crowd while doing her job covering sporting events, adding to her popularity and ratings. Besides that she hasn't incriminated herself publicly in anyway.
That her privacy invasion has made this big of a splash in the media so quickly already is another troubling aspect. Within a day if a football star runs over a person, like Donte Stallworth did, it is all over ESPN and all sports outlets. Coverage of his trial is seen and heard until their is an outcome. But this is different. Andrews own body was videotaped in her hotel room without her knowledge. Now this problem is magnified by most mainstream news services and she is being publicly objectified.
Unfortunately, for better or worse this story will go on until they find who did this and Ms. Andrews gets the legal justice she's looking for. It just seems like just because she's a pretty face and her bare self was photographed and splashed on the web, that it's open season on showing those pictures and all news organizations will just follow suit. At this point Deadspin and TMZ are still feeding the fire, when they should've checked themselves to start with. While Deadspin apologized, most other outlets will just keep going saying its news and should be reported. The message sent is that while what happened to Andrews is heinous and deplorable, we as a news organization will show you this and keep objectifying the product, Erin Andrews.
Look I love football and college football as much as the next red-blooded American male and I am also guilty of viewing Erin Andrews more than just for her sideline reporting skills. But there has to be a point where the pursuit of TV or web ratings has to chill out once a story like this gets out. It's stuff like this that messes up something good. In the future do you want all-male sideline reporters? Those females who would like to break into the business might think twice from now on.
This could all be some backward publicity stunt hatched by the people at the four-letter network to get better ratings for their football programming involving Andrews in the future. As unlikely as that sounds, it is something to think about in these rough economic times.
The handling of this story could have been better handled by Deadspin, the New York Post, and even ESPN to some degree. The drive for ratings and attention has to have a stopping point. Showing Andrews blurred out body has no real journalistic purpose. Condemning this behavior instead of ingratiating it would have been the better way to go.