Dependable Erection

Monday, April 27, 2009


Holy shit! Is someone asleep at the switch over at the Old Reliable? How else to explain the sheer idiocy of Ruth Sheehan's paean to irresponsible driving in today's edition?

Here's a clue - your car is only your private property when it's sitting on your driveway. Once you take it onto a public roadway, where its 3000 pounds moving at 40+ miles per hour is more than capable of killing and maiming, the rest of us have the right to tell you what you can and can't do when you're behind the wheel.

Yeah, i know. N&O columnists get paid to generate controversy. It pulls in eyeballs. I didn't realize that they got paid to write Teh Stupid.

Meanwhile, my friend (and former N&O editor RH) alerts me to this story, which is almost a text book case of irresponsible journalism.
North Carolina's meat industries are battling a bill the Humane Society of the United States and its vegan president say is meant to protect puppies, warning instead that it is the first step toward ending meat eating as we know it.

First, here's the one piece of factual information presented in the article.
The House agriculture committee is expected soon to hear a bill pushed by the national Humane Society that regulates and imposes licensing for commercial dog breeding. Some dog enthusiasts oppose the bill but its proponents portray it as a crackdown on puppy mills, such as the one that was raided in Goldsboro in February because of unsanitary conditions. Officials from both Wayne County and the Humane Society of the United States removed about 300 dogs and puppies.

Somehow, from this and the fact that the director of HSUS is a vegan, the pork lobby is convinced that "(t)he public is very unaware that the Humane Society of the United States has a very direct agenda to eliminate the use of animals for food."
(emphasis added)

Well, actually, the reason why we're unaware of this, is that it's not true. But that doesn't stop staff writer Mark Johnson from making it the top quote in his article. He also misses completely when he writes "(Amanda) Arrington's arrival last year signaled the group's elevated interest in the state." Actually, Amanda's been here for a number of years, putting her money where her mouth is by founding and leading the Coalition to Unchain Dogs, a group we've been highly supportive of at DE. Her work in the local community far predates her position as director of the Humane society for North Carolina. But why let some facts get in the way of a good fear mongering session?

Finally, what the fuck does it even mean to say, "ending meat eating as we know it?" Does Johnson expect that we'll start growing synthetic protein in backyard fermenters? Or maybe he thinks that Soylent Green is going to be the next big thing.

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  • I'm glad somebody else noticed how ridiculous that article is...

    By Blogger FletchFoto, at 11:31 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger rhart101, at 12:22 PM  

  • Thanks Barry. I posted roughly the comment below on the N&O story, but they took the comments down because, I was told, they apparently were getting out of hand.
    Here's what I wrote:

    What's going on here? Is the same News & Observer that won a Pulitzer Prize for examining the hog industry? Is this what happens when you lose all your top editors? To run a story that allows an agribusiness spokesman to say the Humane Society of the U.S. has a secret agenda to stop Americans from eating meat (with no other supporting evidence) is ridiculous. Does anyone at the N&O really think that could be true? What do a spokesperson's personal habits have to do with it? Does the N&O regularly ask spokespeople their personal preferences? How does this become a 1A display story? Did anyone raise these issues at the front page budget meeting? Did anyone suggest that this might better have been a short, entertaining Dome item? Or is there no one left to ask these questions?

    This was the worst piece of news judgment I've seen at The N&O in a long time and hope it isn't a sign of things to come.

    By Blogger rhart101, at 1:40 PM  

  • I noticed the weird angle on this story too. It seems the quality at the N&O has plummeted with all the cuts they have made.

    By Blogger kendraro, at 7:35 PM  

  • As for the Sheehan piece... I think it's possible she was writing tongue in cheek. If so, it wasn't done very well.

    By Blogger David, at 1:38 AM  

  • to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen - "I knew satire . . ."

    By Blogger Barry, at 5:26 AM  

  • It's sad to watch the constant decline of the MSM both in terms of quality (hey, remember the run-up to the Iraq War? No? Well I do!) and market share.

    Soon, no one will have to pay any money for crummy journalism. It will be free online.

    By Blogger Tony, at 9:05 PM  

  • I've found my niche.

    By Blogger Barry, at 10:14 PM  

  • I just got a "Durham News" that made me want to cry. All the "news" in it would have fit comfortably I'm sure on the back of a cereal box.

    Garrison Keillor, I believe it was, said "A good newspaper is almost never good enough, but a lousy newspaper is a joy forever."

    Probably true, but only if the newspaper has the resources to print green writers and veteran editors and some people who care enough to argue with them.

    So is "journalist" about to join "scrivener" in the recycling bin of History? How long can an ad circular with a masthead limp along when the number of ad pages gets down to 2.5?

    Inquiring minds want to know /rant

    By Blogger Maven, at 10:40 PM  

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