Our Girl Friday: Newscaster Voyeurism

Posted at 9:00 AM Jul 24, 2009

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By Geoff George

So, we've got some asshole d-bag creep who decides to film ESPN sideline sportscaster Erin Andrews undressing in her hotel room, and then (awesome!) we've got a bunch of news outlets reporting on it, complete with (sweet!) screenshots of the footage or even (totally!) blurred replays of the actual tape, and ... wait, why, again, does the media keep showing the video?

A couple theories. Viv Bernstein, a sports writer for True/Slant, sees it as an issue of Andrews being "punished for being pretty."  Basically, first, working in TV puts Andrews in a terrible double-bind.  Either she's pretty (or more like a certain kind of "pretty" that ratings-happy TV producers look for because "that pretty" equals  ratings) and people assume she didn't get the job because of her skills, or she's not so pretty and therefore gets booted from the small screen.

Because of this, Bernstein writes, others say Andrews should have expected scrutiny of the tape because she was already "putting herself out there."  Anna North with Jezebel takes this further, suggesting the sheer extent of the searches online for the tape might in fact be due to Andrew's efforts to remain professional and be taken seriously by doing crazy/weird things not befitting a lady journalist, like not stepping into a bikini and posing for FHM/Maxim.

" ... the implication is still there: she was too good. She was a Princess. Seeing her naked was different than seeing other sportscasters naked because she didn't have a 'sex object' image."

Most uncomfortable, says North, is the suggestion that people are more interested in the video of Andrews specifically because there's an "unwillingness factor" to the whole thing.  Andrews didn't want to be seen naked, and therefore, sadly, more people wanna see her naked.

There's a lot of complication here, but here's something I am confident of: This story would be virtually (or completely) non-existent in the media if it involved a male sports anchor.  You think anybody's waiting to get their eager little hands on Bob Costas' hotel footage?  Terry Bradshaw?  John Madden?  Tapes of men only come out if there's a humiliating act involved, like the Berlusconi tapes I mentioned yesterday, which, yeah, are also an invasion of privacy, but rather different since he gets to face the tapes' recorder.

Tapes of women, however, seem to come out just because it's what the women wouldn't want.  So, how's about we stop putting the footage up and maybe concentrate our journalistic efforts instead on figuring out whodunit?


kris said:

Ah, newscasters. What other field would be so quick to backstab their coworkers and colleagues on national television?

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