Tuesday, November 24, 2015

St Louis Public Radio: II

Following our post of November 12 (St Louis Public Radio), SRUV corresponded with the producers and editors of KWMU. That correspondence is published below, slightly edited for clarity. 
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Dear KWMU,

"St Louis Public Radio," our post responding to Don Marsh's interview with Ledy VanKavage, continues to rank among our most popular articles two weeks after publication. It has struck a nerve with victim's advocates across the country.

KWMU is not alone in advocating for fighting breeds; many radio and TV stations and newspapers have been charmed or bullied into giving pit bull advocates free advertising.

FoxNews 2 (Detroit) is one example. For years they repeatedly invited advocates of fighting breeds onto their programs, thereby providing a forum for these advocates to alter the public perception of pit bulls. At the same time the station declined to publish news of pit bull attacks. This was happening at the same time that attacks by pit bulls were escalating, more and more pit bulls were euthanized in shelters, and more and more pit bulls were abandoned to run loose as strays in Detroit. These are the symptoms of dysfunctional pit bull advocacy.

SRUV wrote a series of posts reporting on the imbalanced coverage provided by FoxNews2, and the channel responded. Fox has since stopped inviting the advocates onto the shows and has belatedly begun to carry news of pit bull attacks. Fox recently broke the story of a pit bull attack which killed a companion animal, and the ensuing bullying of Animal Control Officers by local pit bull advocacy groups.1 FoxNews2 is to be commended for their fair and balanced reporting on this case.

There have been over twenty fatal pit bull attacks this year, and dozens of additional pit bull attacks which maimed or disfigured humans. There have been hundreds of fatal attacks on our More Vulnerable Animal Companions (see How Many Companion Animals Were Killed In 2014?).

In our post we asked that KWMU grant equal coverage to victim's of pit bull attacks, so these attacks will become part of the public knowledge base. KWMU has yet to respond to that request.

We are taking this opportunity to renew the request that KWMU provide equal time to advocates for victims of pit bull attacks. We will gladly provide contact information at your request.

The Editors, SRUV

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Dear Editors of SRUV:

Thank you for contacting St. Louis Public Radio. We have received your messages. If we do follow-up programming on our talk program concerning pit bulls we will keep your group in mind.

Alex Heuer
Producer, “St. Louis on the Air” and “Cityscape”
St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU

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To Alex Heuer:

You have seriously misread our letter, which was written as a courtesy to you and your colleagues at KWMU.

We did not ask that you "keep our group in mind;" -- that is dismissive boilerplate language and it is insulting. We did not request a spot on your program nor do we want one; we have our own means of reaching the animal welfare community.

Our letter was to ask you and your colleagues to consider a fundamental change to your programming: to provide equal time for victims of pit bull attacks, as your recent programming is seen by many as tantamount to advocacy for fighting breeds.

The FCC eliminated the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 but public radio stations might still be expected to program in the public interest. Should you decide to offer equal time to victims of fighting breeds, rather than advocating for the breed that attacked them, we will be pleased to suggest contacts.

The Editors

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1   Yorkie killed in dog attack, animal control officer threatened
     November 19, 2015; Fox 2 Detroit

Pit bulls and breed-discriminatory laws: Following Vick’s dog-fighting conviction, what has changed?
    November 4, 2015; 90.7 KWMU

Resources for Victims of Pit Bull Attacks:
National Pit Bull Victim Awareness: WebFaceBook
Daxton's Friends
Ban Pit Bulls, and many others

Statistics quoted on SRUV are from the nation's authoritative source for current dog attack statistics, the 32+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada.
View or download the current PDF

Dog Bite Studies Index

Today's pit bull attacks
   Google News

This page may also include information from Dogsbite & Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

SRUV uses the definition of "pit bull" as found in the Omaha Municipal Code Section 6-163. As pit bulls are increasingly crossed with exotic mastiffs, Catahoula Leopard Dogs and other breeds, the vernacular definition of "pit bull" must be made even more inclusive.

Sources cited by news media sometimes refer to "Animal Advocates" or sometimes "Experts." In many cases these words are used to refer to single-purpose pit bull advocates who have never advocated for any other breeds or species of animals. Media would be more accurate to refer to these pit bull advocates as advocates of fighting breeds.

Similarly, in many cases pit bull advocates refer to themselves as "dog lovers" or "canine advocates" and media often accepts this usage. The majority of these pit bull advocates are single-purpose advocates of fighting breeds.