D.A.Pennebaker's landmark 1993 film The War Room documented the 1992 Clinton Presidential campaign. The film follows Communications Director George Stephanopoulos and Lead Strategist James Carville, both of whom later became media celebrities. The film documents the media revolution that occurred during the campaign; at the end of the movie we are unsure whether Stephanopoulos and Carville were creators of the media revolution, or if they were simply more adept at exploiting trends already underway. The inner sanctum where Carville and Stephanopoulos plotted their strategies was called The War Room.
One of the most effective tactics of the campaign was the rapid response to every single news event or charge from the opposing campaign: no event was allowed to go unanswered or unchallenged. The pit bull advocacy campaign employs a similar political strategy; after each pit bull attack the advocates hit the wires with pit-positive stories to neutralize the news.
Over the last months there have been hundreds of legitimate news accounts of pit bull attacks, and always there are stories and editorials in response which deflect attention from the attack. The pit advocacy War Room response follows on the heels of the original news and sometimes it even appears in the same newspaper.
The pit advocacy follow-up often avoids mention of the attack and nearly always employs stock rhetorical phrases. The stories are so similar they would appear to be plagiarism if the articles were serious journalism; they lead us to suspect that the journalists have been reading a list of "talking points."
Here are some examples of recent pit bull attacks, with the subsequent responses from the pit bull War Room.
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San Diego, CA; June 18, 2011
A: Attack on 75 year-old Emako Mendoza in her fenced backyard by neighbor's pit bull. Original news coverage in SignOnSanDiego.com and elsewhere.
B: June 23; the career pit bull advocate Michael Mountain posts a bathetic defense of the pit bulls which killed Ms Mendoza. Mountain, host of the StubbyDog blog, titled his post In San Diego Attack, Dogs Were Victims Too. This piece of shameless pit advocacy demonstrates a callous disregard of the victim.
Boulder, CO; July 4, 2011
A: Attack on Michael O'Neill; news coverage in the Boulder Daily Camera
B: In an extraordinary move the editorial board of the Daily Camera allowed Clay Evans, pit bull advocate (and incidentally the Features and Entertainment editor of the Daily Camera at the time) to represent the editorial board with an editorial response. The opinion piece ran on July 7 and borrowed an overused pit bull advocacy slogan for its title: Not About the Breed.
Amarillo, TX; October 3, 2011
A: On October 4th, the Amarillo Globe-News publishes an account of the canine homicide of an eleven-day old infant.
B: In an extraordinary response, the Amarillo Globe-News published an advocacy piece, also dated October 4th. This piece, like many pit advocacy stories, interviews three pit bull advocates. SRUV previously reported on this extraordinary publishing event in our Rapid Response.
Bridgewater, MA; Dec 1, 2011
A: Facial disfigurement attack on 71 year-old Normanda Torres by the family pit bull. Original news coverage carried on EnterpriseNews.com, the Boston Globe, and elsewhere.
B: Within three days the Enterprise News rolled over and began publishing a SERIES of pit advocacy stories, including:
- Dec 4: Pit Bull Owners: Blame the Owners, Not the Dogs
- Dec 7: Owners, not breeds, must be focus in wake of dog bite (484 words)
- Dec 8: Owners, not breeds, must be focus in wake of dog bite (Revised, 422 words)
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Google news -- Today's pit bull attacks