The Threat is Real
And it isn’t from vicious, baby-killing pibbles…..
Today Steve Salerno from http://www.skeptic.com published a wonderfully entertaining and insightful article about how our deeply flawed system of broadcast journalism habitually takes odd, random occurrences and uses them to manufacture epidemics designed to terrify the mindless hordes who still take what they see and read in the news at face value.
In Mr. Salerno’s words, “by definition, journalism in its most basic form deals with what life is not. By painting life in terms of its oddities, journalism yields not a snapshot of your world, but something closer to a photographic negative.”
Instead of actually taking the time and effort to <gawd forbid> research a story, media pundits bent on achieving celebrity status at any cost manufacture stories using sound-bites, anecdotes, pointless opinion polls, twisted statistics and information culled from “experts” who are focused more on advancing personal agendas than in presenting accurate data.
According to Salerno, “Nowhere are these foibles more noticeable — or more of a threat to journalistic integrity — than when they coalesce into a cause: so-called “advocacy” or “social” journalism. To begin with, there are legitimate questions about whether journalism should even have causes. Worse, for our purposes, the data on which journalists premise their crusades are drawn from the same marginalia discussed above. Just as journalists who run out of news may create it, journalists who run out of real causes may invent them. It’s not hard to do. All you need is a fact or two, which you then “contextualize” with more so-called expert opinion.”
So what’s the panic du jour?
Well, according to Jim Crosby at canineaggression.blogspot.com a new record was set when 33 people were killed by dogs in 2007. Most of the fatal attacks were made by unsupervised sexually intact dogs. A record I’m sure some twit in the media will spin into “an epidemic” that animal rights advocates will use to try to put yet more limits on pet ownership.
I think that Mr. Crosby is spot on when he says, “What I see these numbers indicating, based on my on-scene investigations, is that irresponsible owners tend not to spay and neuter, tend to chain their animals out for extended times with little or no socialization, and that Pits are currently popular with owners who maintain their animals with less wisdom and care than most of us. Once again, it’s the two-legged problem behind the four-legger that precipitates the problems.”
And sad to say, instead of listening to voices of reason (how pointlessly boring would THAT be), the folks we’ve elected to serve us in cities, counties and states across the country are swallowing the twisted, self-serving media hype hook, line and stinker.
According to my friend at caveat.blogware.com, Aurora, Colorado enacted a breed ban in 2005 largely as a knee-jerk response to the reinstatement of the adjacent City of Denver’s breed ban. She goes on to say, ‘City Councilmember Bob Fitzgerald explained the need for a citywide pit bull ban thus: “We don’t want ‘those people’ here.” ‘
O-kay… Just who are ‘those people’ Bob Fitzgerald wants to keep out? If he wants to limit the kinds of people who can live in Aurora, why can’t he leave innocent dogs out of the equation and pass a law limiting residency in the city to law-abiding heterosexual white people with above-average incomes who drive hybrid cars and drink merlot?
Watch out for the coming storm. The media will be digging their ugly little claws into these statistics soon, and dog owners across the country had better be ready to get mauled.