Expert available to comment on Lance Armstrong confession

A University of Western Sydney expert says Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey – in which he is expected to come clean about his history with doping – looks set to become one of the most compelling, and widely watched, celebrity confessions of all time.

Professor David Rowe, from the UWS Institute for Culture and Society, is an expert in sport and media and the author of Global Media Sport, which explained why the Tiger Woods televised apology become a worldwide leading news story.

He says the Lance Armstrong interview is likely to instigate similar media interest.

“Public confessions like this are never the result of a spontaneous, unpremeditated urge for the celebrities to unburden themselves,” says Professor Rowe.

“They are always orchestrated, strategic attempts to recover – at least partially – their position in the eyes of the media and among the general public.”

Professor Rowe says celebrities are ‘media beings’ who attempt to impose themselves on the media agenda, rather than be subject to it, and are well aware of how to ‘play the game’.

“There are certain mechanics at play when it comes to what I call ‘reputational gaming’ in the media. Celebrities and their advisors know that reputation and redemption can follow a rise-fall-rise trajectory under the right circumstances. They have worked the media for decades, and so try to use their televised penitence to manufacture the conditions of their own image rehabilitation,” says Professor Rowe.

“Having undergone the prescribed ritual supplication and humiliation, Armstrong will now be aiming to turn things around to his advantage. This would be an unlikely come back, but it’s the last card he can play in the face of celebrity oblivion.”

To arrange an interview with Professor Rowe, please contact the UWS Media Unit.


17 January 2013

Contact: Danielle Roddick, Senior Media Officer