A writer for the Denver Post had an interesting article late last week on whether or not there was media bias about ‘pit bulls’.
The writer publishes a letter from an advocate claiming a bias in over-reporting of bites involving ‘pit bull’ type dogs.
The reporter then covers a report by the National Canine Research Council that shows how similar attacks over a 4 day period involving four different types of dogs resulted in significantly different media exposure.
It also includes a note by the ASPCA that said that the media has repeatedly told them that they have no interest in reporting attacks involving non-pit bull type dogs.
The reporter, himself, even looked at the headlines for articles in his own newspaper. Over the past 5 years, the newspaper has covered 20 different stories involving dog attacks — of them, 9 had the breed of dog in the headlines. The breeds mentioned? 8x ‘pit bulls’ and 1x a Rottweiler.
This is even more interesting when put into the context that ‘pit bulls’ make up only 8% of the dog bites in the state of Colorado — and aren’t even the top biting dog in the state (see page 23). Labs were #1.
This isn’t unusual of course, last year I did a story about Mobile, AL and noted that one TV station there had 100% of their dog bite stories that mentioned the breed in the story involving ‘pit bulls’ — but were only involved in about 20% of the dog bites in the community (also behind Labs).
Media acknowledgement that they may be responsible for the hysteria is a good first step. And in Denver’s case, the hysteria has led to countless lawsuits, thousands of dogs being killed, hundreds of families ripped apart and thousands upon thousands of dollars in legal fees paid at taxpayer expense to support a ban that no one even claims has even really worked.
It’s a good first step in changing the narrative with our local media.
Courtesy of…. KCBlog