Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why media sucks

I like to keep my pulse on what passes for "news" for the masses who even follow the news, so i have bookmarked on my computer and frequently follow the inner links (and often link to its stories from this forum). Sometimes i swear reporters don't watch or read the news.

In the aftermath of the Connecticut chimpanzee attack, this headline on CNN's front page caught my eye:

It was a bit of a bait and switch. This was the actual headline on the target page:

Why the Stamford Chimp Attacked
By Bryan Walsh

I thought we already knew what made the chimp go ape, but i read on for any late breaking details.

"The ferocious attack by a chimpanzee of a woman in Stamford, Conn., on Feb. 16 wasn't a question of if, but when," begins the article.

The 200-lb. chimp named Travis, whose owner, Sandra Herold, 70, raised as part of her own family, had no history of violence — aside from one incident in 2003 when he escaped and stopped traffic in Stamford for hours. But when Charla Nash, 55, a friend of Herold's, came to visit on Monday afternoon, Travis suddenly lashed out at her. The 14-year-old chimpanzee latched onto Nash's face and tore it apart.

Maybe i'm picking nits, but Ms. Nash wasn't dropping in to visit. She was called by the pet's owner because "Travis" had escaped and she was unable to control him by herself. (We also learned later that Travis had been given Xanax, the side effects of which can include "decreased inhibitions, no fear of danger (increased risk taking behavior), rage and hostility.")

Herold had called Nash over to her house to help get Travis back inside after he used a key to free himself from the house. [CNN: Feb. 16]

After delving into the gruesome details, the Time/CNN article by Bryan Walsh gets back to its premise as to why this particular attack occurred.

But even as investigators try to figure out exactly what triggered Travis's attack (he had been suffering from Lyme disease, which in rare cases is linked to psychotic behavior), the reality is that a chimpanzee living among people is simply a ticking time bomb. No matter how many years it has lived peacefully as a pet, a chimpanzee is not a domesticated animal and can snap without warning.

Walsh may in fact be correct in his assertion that every chimpanzee is a "ticking time bomb" but he chose a poor example. Travis didn't "snap" because of his inherently aggressive ape nature. He was schizo and on drugs. I wouldn't be surprised to see the same situation in the greatest of apes given similar circumstances.

I also thought the article's embedded links rather odd and perhaps computer generated:

  • The 14-year-old chimpanzee latched onto Nash's face and tore it apart. (See pictures of animals facing extinction.)
  • "They are not pets. This is tragic, but it's not surprising." (See pictures of animals in space.)
  • "An adult male chimpanzee is a formidable animal. I would not want to be standing next to one." (See pictures of animals with prosthetic limbs.)
  • The former NASCAR driver St. James Davis, who raised a chimpanzee as a pet, was attacked by escaped chimps at an animal sanctuary in 2005; he was left with injuries and disfigurement so severe that doctors kept him in a medically induced coma for three months. (See pictures of the 50th running of the Daytona 500.)
  • In Travis's case, his owner was forced to call 911, then attack and repeatedly stab him — a cherished pet she had reared for years — with a butcher knife in a desperate attempt to save her friend.
See TIME's Pictures of the Week.
See the Cartoons of the Week.

Now this was an example the so-called main stream media simple being sloppy.

When the cartoon below appeared in the New York Post today, we witnessed the Fourth Estate being racist, bordering on sedition.
The Post is owned by Australian born, media oligarch billionaire, Rupert Murdoch.

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