Landshark Week 2014 Day 2

Breaking News: Scary Pit Bull Articles are Old News

The oldest ongoing news story in the country is every scary “pit bull” article.  When what’s-her-name wrote that cookie-cutter scary “pit bull” piece for for that clock online website I had to do a double take at the publishing date to see if I really saw “2014” or if people were just recirculating an article from 2004…or 1984.  These kinds of articles get so outlandish they seem more like a deleted scene from A Clockwork Orange than a story about dogs.  They have been found to be factually inaccurate, poorly researched, patently false and have been exhaustively dis-proven.  Basically the very definition of poor journalism, if they fit the definition of journalism at all.  But they keep getting written and people keep getting mad and posting them and sending them to their friends and colleagues in an outrage.

Even if these articles were true, which they aren’t, they’re not news. They’re the equivalent of announcing the winner of Super Bowl XL – it was the Steelers.  If there is a polar opposite in this universe of getting a “scoop”, it is writing an article about how dangerous “pit bulls” are.  But here’s the secret: they’re not supposed to be good, they’re supposed to get attention.  The articles are a transparent attempt of average and sub par writers to generate clicks and traffic for their otherwise pedestrian and uninteresting writing.

Not everyone is as savvy about dog behavior, dog safety and dog ordinances as Landshark and his many, many friends.  So when a mediocre writer, politician, or assistant city attorney stumbles into “the pit bull issue” they all have the same unoriginal thought – “I should take up this cause. Then people will know who I am.”  Whether it’s a short term interest that manifests in a poorly researched article or a longer, unhealthy obsession that leads to laughably written Amicus Briefs, it’s all designed to do the same thing: get that person some attention.

So when you see these articles online and you click on them, give the website hits, spend time in the comments, share them on facebook, tell all your friends, and bring a lot of attention to it, you help it succeed.  Remember, don’t aid the ignorance – don’t feed the trolls.