Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Michael Bryant and the spin cycle

More details are coming out about Michael Bryant's lethal encounter with cyclist Darcy Sheppard on Monday night and it's hard to sort out just what exactly is truth, fabrication, conjecture, gossip or spin, especially given that politicians are so often no more than professional disseminators of crap - self-promotional crap, destroy the opposition crap, pad my wallet crap, shag the mistress crap and of course the ever popular "appease mass hysteria by passing bullshit laws" crap.

Bryant should know what I'm talking about. He's always been such a vociferous supporter of his Breed Specific Legislation which has destroyed too many innocent dogs in Ontario and turned into nightmares the lives of too many dog owners, basing his support on loosey goosey media reports and populist anecdotes. It's ironic and, some might say, a good whopping dose of poetic justice that he now finds himself the victim of those same fickle forces which he himself so shamelessly used in the past. The difference is of course that when the tongue wagging and finger pointing targets a dog, the dog doesn't usually have a voice with which to defend itself. Bryant, on the other hand, has copious access to mighty marketing machinery.

Some of the best analysis on how media and politicians distort dog bite reports to suit their own agendas of garnering more readers or more political supporters, as the case may be, can be found at KC Dog Blog (if you didn't know already). Brent, over KCDB, gives almost daily reviews of Pit Bull and other dog related distortions which pop up all too frequently in the public sphere and also a multitude of examples of why breed bans don't work.

Here are just a couple of recent examples:

From September 2, Balanced reporting in the media?:

while "pit bulls" make up about 22% of the total bites in Mobile (Labs make up 28%), they happen to make up 100% of the stories where the breed of dog was mentioned in the article and 83% of the total [dog bite] stories covered.

From August 24, The media, breed bans, and the ineffectiveness of breed bans:

Last week, a South Salt Lake City man was bitten by two dogs outside of a gas station.

The dogs, roaming off-leash, approached the man. There is no word that the dog approached the man aggressively, but regardless, the man became scared and when the dogs got close to him, he began kicking one of the dogs. The dogs retaliated and "attacked" the man.

Of course, the headlines were all about the "pit bull" attack -- not about the reality that the man attacked the dogs first.

When police came to get the dogs, police officials said the dogs were quite friendly and showed no signs of aggression ... apparently only showing aggression when they are kicked. Many dogs would react the same way.

The story goes on to talk about how attacks like this often lead to talk of breed bans -- even though the news source didn't find one person in favor of such a ban --- although the Humane Society of Utah spoke out against such a ban.

It's kind of stupefying that the bureaucrats who are supposed to look out for us, like attorney generals for example, are actually fooled by all the blatantly slanted anti-Pit Bull crap. I realize dissecting some of this stuff may require a teensy bit of looking beneath the sometimes oily slick media surface and perhaps even a modicum of something called "thinking" but aren't the people in power supposed to be able to do that? Think?

My only guess as to why upper echelon politicos are so easily misguided is that perhaps living in their craptastic filled world of self generated, self referential crap piled upon the nepotistic crap of the sycophants they surround themselves with, it eventually becomes difficult to discern someone else's crap from one's own. Pretty soon it's all just one big downtown office full of crappy crappers crapping themselves and it's no wonder crap legislation gets spewed out.

Oh, and by the way, Michael, you should know that in the vast majority of cases when there's a violent encounter between a Pit Bull and a human, it's a one sided battle where the Pit Bull almost always loses, just like it's a one-sided battle when you match a cyclist up against a car.

More here.


House of the Discarded said...

Bhahahahaha!!! The last paragraph says it all!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that post, Fred. You can hear the huge sucking sound of the media. I'm glad the marginal tree-hugging bike-riding folks that staged a vigil today took over Bloor and Bay, and actually, that it was this particular ex-Mandarin that brought the whole bike/car issue to the forefront.

Craptastic. Let's give our collective heads a shake and stop taking those pills that let us blissfully accept The Matrix.

Lynda said...

Love it! One of your best posts ever!!

borderjack said...

Fantastic post, Fred.

About the Bryant spin cycle: I’m concerned that some of the media reports (including some talk-radio shows I’ve recently tuned into) are bordering on a blame-the-victim approach, almost inviting us to ask what we would differently do if some angry-drunk-just-released-from-police-custody engaged us in a similar altercation. I’ve even heard suggestion that the police should bear some scrutiny for not escorting him home, or for releasing him when there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest from Winnipeg.

But a single - and in my view critical - detail keeps getting lost: before the angry, testosterone/adrenalinte/whatever-fueld altercation started, a simple thing happened: Bryant’s car knocked down Mr. Sheppard’s bike. The focus continues to be on their actions afterward – they’re more sensational, for sure – but it all started with Bryant, for whatever reason, hitting Sheppard’s bike. The spin-machines can say what they want about the altercation that followed, but I doubt Bryant could legitimately have felt his life was in danger at that first moment WHEN HE HIT SHEPPARD’S BIKE!!!

Social Mange said...

Actually, having watched the posted surveillance video frame-by-frame, it appears to me that Bryant's car hit the bike not once, but twice.

Apparently the video's down now or has been abbreviated. Navigator is certainly earning its dollars.