Monday, August 30, 2010

Media Bias in Two Recent Attacks

Story: 19-mos old child wanders away from home, enters yard with chained dog, is severely mauled: Collapsed lungs, 45 puncture wounds, multiple internal injuries, required chest tubes to stay alive.Covered in 16 articles
Breed Mentioned
Zero times: 5
One time: 3
Title of article: None
All articles are a variation of the same basic two - no article mentions the breed more than once. Not once is it mentioned that Huskies pose any meaningful threat to anyone.

Story: 8-mos-old infant placed on the floor of a kitchen. An adult mixed breed Pit Bull belonging to a family member entered the home and picked up the child by her buttocks and dragged her outside.The dog was without food and water.
Covered in 36 articles
Breed Mentioned: In every article
Zero times: 0
One time: 0
More than one time: 36
In title: 36
 In both cases, a child was placed, inadvertently, in a situation that resulted in severe injury for the child and undoubtedly death for the dog. In the first case, we have a situation involving possibly lax parental supervision and a chained dog in an unfenced yard. In the second case, we have a situation involving a potentially neglected/underfed dog and an infant placed on the ground, unattended, around the dog. 

But how they are reported by the media is very different. 

And how *we*, the public, respond is very different. In many of the Husky articles, the victim is blamed. As in a 19-mos-old child is blamed for walking up to a chained dog and trying to "pet him". The parents are blamed. The individual dog is blamed. But there are a lot of comments defending the dog's behavior.

In the case of the Pit Bull Mix, many of the comments are quite negative and blame the dog and its breed. Some blame the owner. Thankfully, unlike some comments in the Husky case, no one blames the infant.

Oh wait. There isn't any media bias. The media reports Pit Bull attacks the same way they report Husky attacks. The public respond to Pit Bull attacks the same way they respond to Husky attacks of the same magnitude. I still cannot believe there are people who STILL maintain there isn't a media bias. It's like someone falling out of a plane without a parachute thinking they can just, you know, defy gravity with their mind. Surprise!

Samples from the Pit Bull Mix Attack

Baby bitten by pit bull in critical condition

Boston Herald - ‎Aug 7, 2010‎
The dog's owner, Bryant Sidney, was cited for prohibitive treatment of the dog and not having a rabies tag. Police say Sidney is the baby's great uncle. ...
Infant critical after attack by pit bull Atlanta Journal Constitution
9-Month-Old Attacked By

Samples from the Husky Attack

Toddler Injured by Dog Bite Recovering Well

KMEG 14 - Erika Thomas - ‎Aug 27, 2010‎
His mother tells us, 19-month-old Samuel Van Donslear had X-rays Friday afternoon. His vital organs are doing well and his chest tubes will be removed ...

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