Once upon a time, the press was a mighty weapon against the established power structure. British politician Edmund Burke allegedly dubbed it the Fourth Estate because it sat in contrast to the three established estates of power in 18th century England—the clergy, House of Nobles, and House of Commons.
Upon seeing the press gallery, history tells us Burke said, "Yonder sits the Fourth Estate, and they are more important than them all."
It's a damn shame modern journalism isn't taking Burke's words to heart.
Instead, the powers-that-be have given themselves over to a monetary lust that grows stronger with each penny dropped in the larder. They've sacrificed progress born of integrity at the altar of the almighty dollar.
Somewhere along the way, it was decided that the revenue would dictate the angle as much (if not more so) than the possibility of engendering productive dialogue, which sits as the most hallowed consequence of true journalism.
Regardless of the lurid, sensational content and the fact that more substantive issues are bypassed in favor of the lower hanging financial fruit.
Look no further than the ongoing Tiger Woods mockery.
Each day brings new (useless) details of porn star mistresses and club-hopping trinkets the globe's best golfer picked up on tour. Each new development is rushed to print in cha-chinging anticipation—did you hear Elin Nordegren bought a house with her sister?
Did you hear it was worth $2 million? Did you hear her mother was rushed to the hospital? What about the 911 tape? Or that Nordegren might be heading home to Sweden?
Hey, who flippin' cares?!?!?!
Does any of this matter in the grand scheme of things? NO.
Once Woods came clean and admitted to the adultery, implicitly acknowledging that everything wasn't everything in the Thanksgiving night accident explanation, the story became moot.
Just another example of an insanely arrogant and ignorant superstar setting fierce and thorough flame to his legacy because he thought he wasn't encumbered by the rules of mortal men. Sadly, this no longer qualifies as news—it's hardly rare and it's clear that continued publicity of the scandals aren't serving a deterrent purpose.
But the doddering masses eat them up so the endless parade continues despite most of it falling under the "yawn" category.
Except for one little tidbit—the one that's getting almost no play as picture after picture of skank materializes.
That would be the decision by the Florida State Attorney General's office to quash the Florida State Police Department's request for a subpoena of Woods' medical records on the Thanksgiving night in question.
Now, I won't pretend to know each state's procedure for issuing subpoenas.
Perhaps Florida has some insanely high evidentiary standard before a subpoena can be issued, but I doubt it. I would bet very serious money that Florida's evidentiary standard is no more than the probable cause necessary to establish a search warrant under the United States of America's Constitution—after all, a search warrant is a much more invasive abrogation of the right to privacy.
Consequently, the decision by the office of Florida's Attorney General almost certainly falls under a different category—"Outrageous Bulls***."
Although probable cause is an entirely subjective determination, I'd say statements by witnesses to an accident in the wee hours of a holiday that indicate Tiger had been drinking that day, was on prescription drugs (including the violently unpredictable Ambien), and was SNORING in the middle of the road amount to oodles and oodles of probable cause.
Uh...I've seen several people knocked unconscious. I have yet to see/hear one of them snore.
Not to mention the incident happened not 100 yards from the man's home.
Let's put it this way—if the individual isn't Tiger Woods, there is ZERO CHANCE the battery of evidence doesn't allow a subpoena to issue. Especially since the information about drug and alcohol use came from the individual who helped Woods from his car, i.e. his wife, and the bit about snoring came from a different witness.
That's two independent accounts of something sincerely amiss regarding Woods' sobriety during an accident that was about as suspicious as they come. I'll put it to you this way—how many Thanksgiving revelers at your house were stone-cold sober?
Yet it wasn't enough evidence to issue a subpoena.
Understand, the evidence doesn't have to be ironclad, it just has to constitute reasonable grounds for pressing the issue. In the face of all we've heard, do YOU think it's unreasonable to investigate whether Eldrick was boozing?
This is the story we should be hearing more about.
Forget nude pictures of Tiger Woods or a possible neutering on Oprah's infernal couch. The press should be running down the angle that really matters—the very good chance that a state's judicial system is trying to give another Chosen One a free pass.
One bought by heaps of scratch attached to international celebrity. That's not the way it's supposed to work.
Tiger Woods owes the public nothing at this point.
Contrarily, our states' judicial systems owe us equality under the shadow of Lady Justice plus everything else promised by the Bill of Rights—a profound debt that often goes unpaid to disastrous consequences.
And still, the press focuses on salacious rumors that lead nowhere, even if true.
Somebody check for a pulse.