Coverage of Owen Wilson suicide attempt vastly different from last year’s Terrell Owens media circus


I'll be the first to tell you that I'm a big Owen Wilson fan.  Wedding Crashers was one of the funniest movies in years, and he was a big reason why.  His cameo in Night at the Museum was very good, not to mention  turns in Meet the Parents & The Royal Tenenbaums.

But just because he's funny on screen doesn't mean he's exempt from the everyday problems we all go through.  On Monday night I saw stories floating on the web that Owen Wilson had allegedly tried to commit suicide on Sunday.

Comparisons to the coverage of Wilson's apparent attempt on his own life and reports that Terrell Owen's had overdosed almost a year ago are valid since Wilson is from Dallas.  Granted he was in L.A. at the time of the incident, but you would think a native son would be covered thoroughly.

owen 2.jpgThe first report in the Dallas Morning News was in Tuesday's GuideLive Section.  The headline, on  page 3E, reads "Owen Wilson in 'good condition.'" The story ran showing the picture to the right of Wilson with a half smile.  No where in the above the fold article was the word suicide mentioned. 

Now are you telling me that the Dallas Morning News had not heard one rumor in the 24 hours between the incident and the time that they went to press that Wilson had attempted to kill himself?  Am I supposed to believe that when they printed Tuesday's edition, there wasn't a hint of speculation in the newsroom that Wilson tried to end his own life?  I call you know what on that one.

Think back to last year about this time.  When the story broke on a Wednesday morning in late September that T.O. had overdosed on pills, they couldn't get enough of it.  Belo's Cowboy blog gave minute by minute details, and the Morning News website had 911 tapes, video from T.O.'s lofts, and a there was a press conference by the Dallas Chief of Police all within 24 hours of what was eventually an accidental mix of supplements.  

And it wasn't just Dallas.  News media from all over the country flew in to Dallas and were live from Baylor, Valley Ranch, and wherever they could go to get someone to talk about T.O. 

Now back to Wednesday's Morning News.  The above the fold headline to the 3"x3" story reads Hometown is in Wilson's corner:Suicide attempt stunds Dallas friends, family of movie funnyman.  The article then on page 2A, with smiling pictures of Wilson and his brothers, speaks of the serious nature of the incident and the famliy's desire to do what's best for Owen.  There are very few statements from anyone 3 days later.

Isn't that the way it should be?  If you think someone tried to take their own life shouldn't they and their family be allowed to deal with it?  But last year Terrell (and Kim Ethridge) had to go into details of who, what, where, when, and why's to feed the media's insatiable appetite for tearing down black men. 

Am I calling the Dallas Morning News and any other outlet racist?  Actually I'm not.  What I'm saying, is that there are distinct differences of how the media covers events based on race whether they like it or not and whether they admit to it or not.  And in Wilson's case there is not a rush to judge, or a rush to assume.  Everyone rushed with Owen's to be the first to call him crazy.

I hope Owen Wilson is able to get past this and move on with his life.  I can't help but think of the scene in The Royal Tenenbaums when his brother Luke's character slit his wrist in a failed suicide attempt.  Owen Wilson received an Academy Award nomination as a screenwriter for the movie.

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