I knew it would happen quickly: The man with the Golden Voice ran into a buzzsaw of big media, and it’s not pretty.
I’m talking about Ted Williams. I’m sure you’ve seen him by now. He’s the homeless guy in Ohio who has a GREAT radio voice. He was discovered by Doral Chenowith, newspaper multi-media reporter for the Columbus, Ohio Dispatch, who shot a video of the guy. And Williams shot directly to fame.
Williams became a big “get,” media parlance for “We’ve got to interview this guy on live TV before anybody else, and we need to make sure, come hell or high water nobody gets to him first.”
CBS and NBC battled it out for the guy. Which got ugly, as usual, according to published reports. The Huffington Post reported the battle between the two network giants delayed Williams’ emotional reunion with his mother.
Hey, let’s not let a life changing event get in the way of a good story.
I worry about Williams. He ended up homeless due to addictions to drugs and alcohol. He’s clean now, but stresses can trigger relapses. He has tons of job offers, and if his alleged experiences with CBS and NBC is any guide, not everybody is interested in Williams well being.
He’s become such a focus of public interest that he’s not a big fat bank account for some unscrupulous media shysters.
I hate topatronize the guy, who really does seem to be nobody’s fool, but he did seem overwhelmed by all this during his appearance on NBC’s Today program. Any normal human being in his situation would be overwhelmed.
He says he’s got a trusted guy helping him with all this. Gawd I hope so. Because the media will turn on him. Not because the media herd is necessarily out to attack. But I call the media a herd for a reason. It’s a herd mentality. When the tone changes subtlely, everybody piles on. So if Williams screws up in some minor way, which he is sure to do because he’s human, the story line will change to “Promise shattered by creep.”
Big media usually does not do nuance. Too often, to them, everybody is good, or bad, but almost never a complex shade of gray. Of course real life is a complex tapestry of millions of shades of gray, but never mind.
So Williams, the shining white discovered talent, is sure to become the big bad creep for the neatly drawn storyline that we often see on TV.
I’m not painting all big media as villians. There’s a lot of good out there, from small publications to huge network stars. (Anderson Cooper, anyone?)
I’ve been in journalism for more than two decades. Not one story I’ve ever worked on is pure black and white. I think most people get that. So let’s just trust the judgement of our viewers and our readers. Let’s not focus so much on the “get” and instead, let’s try to find important, or at least compelling stories.
And as an aside, maybe that means we could give Lindsay Lohan a rest. Just a thought.