Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In a dog eat dog world, don't blame me

It’s rant time.

Stop blaming the media. We’re an easy scapegoat, but we are not the only “gatekeepers” in this world.

If someone doesn’t tell us something, how are we supposed to report it? We, “the media,” are NOT the only ones filtering the news.

Politicians put a “spin” on things, right? So do businessmen, volunteers, etc.

What has spurred this rant? Pit bulls.

I was among the recipients in an e-mail to city officials from a would-be resident who didn’t move to the city because of the ban on pit bulls.

The e-mail from this person to the city accuses the pit bull ban to be a “knee jerk” reaction to “media scare tactics” that are “ludicrous” when you consider there are a “tremendous number” of serious or fatal dog bits by labs and other large-breed dogs that are “never reported upon.” The e-mail states that is because it is not as “sensational.”

First of all, I have never, nor have I ever known any reporter, to “cover up” a Labrador bite or attack. There is no scandal there. Why would the “media” “cover up” something like that? I would venture to say a Golden Retriever or Labrador attack would be much more newsworthy than a pit bull attack because they are known as gentle breeds and you don’t hear about it as much.

In journalism 101 I learned “dog bites man” is not news, but “man bites dog” is news. A lab attack would fall into the latter category.

So IF these “lab attack” are common and IF “the media” is NOT reporting on it, who then is covering it up? Someone must be stopping this from getting out. Police? Animal control? The Humane Society?

Show me the reports of the lab attack.

I’ve written stories about a 10-year-old mauled to death by the family dog. Yes, it was a pit bull, but I would NOT have ignored the story had it been any other breed. I have never, however, seen in the police blotters or heard from animal control about a healthy dog of most other breeds commit a similar act.

So, if there is a cover up and you’ve got a conspiracy theory that other breeds are just as vicious as the pit bull – look to other places for the cover up other than “the media.”
Consider that for other conspiracy theories and forms of news filters.

The ultimate gatekeeper is an easy scapegoat, but we can’t control if it never reaches the gate.