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An example of media bias and dog bites

In July of 2007, there were two child deaths linked to dog bites.

Case #1:
Breed: Siberian Husky, two dogs
Story: A mother placed her 11-mos old child in a playpen located near two dogs. The two dogs managed to get the child out of the playpen and maul him to death. 
Charges? Charges will not be filed.
Number of times reported in media: Six, including one AOL article and two articles reported in the same paper.
(Google: No Charges in Fatal Dog Attack; No criminal charges expected after baby fatally mauled by dogs; No criminal chages in death of baby; 11-month-old Alabama boy mauled, killed by dogs in Tennessee (Alabama); Infant apparently killed by pet dogs
AOL News: http://news.aol.com/story/_a/no-criminal-charges-expected-after-baby/n20070728162009990001)
Number of comments in articles: One in the AOL article

Case #2:
Breed: Pit Bull
Story: A father permitted his 6-yr-old son to feed an 8-mos old dog with a history of aggression. The child was alone with the dog when he was mauled to death. 
Charges? Charges are pending.
Number of times reported in media: Seventeen, including two MSNBC articles.
(Google: Pit bull mauling probe concludes; uticaOD.com - The Observer-Dispatch - 6-year-old feeding pit bull ...Wellsville Daily Reporter: Serving Allegany County, NY - News; Corning Leader - NewsR News: As It Happens, Where It Happens; Star-Gazette.COM - Editorials; Father charged in dog attack; http://www.the-leader.com/articles/2007/07/31/news/local03.txt; Father Charged in Pit Bull Attack - WETM 18 Online; Child Killed by Pit Bull - 13WHAM.com; Digital Journal - Six-Year-Old Killed By Pit Bull Pup; 6-year-old feeding pit bull mauled to death; http://www.theithacajournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070731/NEWS01/707310338
Google national: Six-year-old killed in pit bull attack - News - MSNBC.com; http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20184847/)
Of the six articles permitting commenting: 103 comments made

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
smeddley
Aug. 13th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC)
This is going to start off sounding completely off-topic, but bear with me...

A friend at work showed me an article some 'scholarly' person had written about the dark side of Web 2.0 - everyone having a blog and being able to communicate their opinions with the world. The lack of scholarly merit was citing as one problem, as well as blatant falsehoods (such as people who don't know what they're on about editing Wikipedia and then other people citing is as fact in papers and whatnot). Okay, so I can see the problems there, but caveat emptor and all that jazz.

But the article went on to state a third problem with the dissemination of information of this nature - the lack of objectivity. At which point I lost all respect for the writer. To me, his claims of 'professional' media objectivity were a joke. The media has never, ever, ever been subjective about anything. Sure, they all have their own agendas and if you watch enough news you might be able to gleam the truth, but it all comes down to numbers and ratings. Shock is their tool of choice, I've noticed. I once read an article that started off with the shocking claim that morning coffee was deadly, and then set about this tangled path of barely connected events that showed that some people who had coffee in the morning and added lots of crap to it (to the point where it wasn't even coffee any more, but a 'coffee-flavored sugar syrup beverage') might suffer from obesity and other weight-related problems that might just possibly shorten their life span.

'Coffee is deadly' my hind end...

To make a long story short (too late!) my dislike of the media knows no bounds...

Also, I firmly believe you should never judge a dog by its cover... er, fur. My friend has a Doberman that's the nicest dog you'll ever meet. He might knock you down and lick you to death, but that's all. My 'cute' little furball would take a chunk out of your keister, though...
yotie
Aug. 13th, 2007 02:53 am (UTC)
I do a lot of research on this topic...
You're 100% on-- if it's a breed other than a pit bull, it's listed as "dogs", if it's a pit bull, it's listed as a pit bull...
rozae
Aug. 13th, 2007 10:09 am (UTC)
Re: I do a lot of research on this topic...
It's as if "pit bull" is a separate species.
bullymama
Aug. 13th, 2007 06:11 pm (UTC)
Re: I do a lot of research on this topic...
And, if it is not a "pit bull", it is very rarely reported on. Most fatalities from dog attacks seem to be covered by the media (locally for non-pit bulls/nationally for pit bulls). However, there is a huge bias in reporting non-fatal dog attacks.

In Indianapolis, for example, a girl required 12 stitches on her finger when was bitten by a pit bull. That was reported by news outlets statewide as a "Pit Bull Mauling". However, there have been 2 serious attacks on children by Labs and 2 serious attack by a Golden Retriever that weren't reported at all.
rozae
Aug. 13th, 2007 10:07 am (UTC)
Ouch. I wish this had been around (or, I should say, that I had been aware of dog attack biases) back when I did a media bias report for school.
bullymama
Aug. 13th, 2007 06:07 pm (UTC)
I've been following both stories as well .. and the bias is infuriating to say the least. I also feel bad for the families. Noone should have to lose a child that way .. and, for the media to make it a matter of breed, is just disrespectful.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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