Posts tagged ‘avoiding the question’

“Pit Bull Hack”

Pit Bull Hack
A “Pit Bull Hack” is generally a pit bull protectionist given a media platform to spread misinformation to the public. A Pit Bull Hack can also be a lazy journalist who reuses circular or red herring arguments (“Are Pit Bulls Dangerous?”) that have been around for three decades. A Pit Bull Hack can be a “pet writer” too or dog lover journalist sympathetic to pit bulls, sometimes recklessly so. The term “Hack” usually involves deliberately using polarizing language to “generate” page views or social media shares while knowing the piece does not contribute to reducing the number of maulings and deaths routinely inflicted by pit bulls. A Pit Bull Hack can also refer to an entire news group, such as the Toledo Blade and Huffington Post, who indisputably advocate for pit bulls and promote false myths about them. All in all, a Pit Bull Hack is a derogatory term as it either means a journalist who is blatantly biased, is lazy by reusing circular debates and/or has failed to address the real issue: “How do we stop creating new victims?” #AdvancetheDebate. Asking the same questions for 30-years after a new disastrous mauling or deadly pit bull attack — which often “resets” this debate back to 1985 — is unacceptable today.

Once Upon a Time in America

During the mid 1980s, when journalists were asking similar questions, they were doing so because parts of the country were in crisis. The epidemic of “headline” pit bull maulings and fatalities had just erupted. Animal control departments and humane groups were in crisis too — these dogs were coming into shelters and eviscerating dogs. By 1983, new shelter policies had to be established to “isolate” pit bulls. Journalists then were investigating this issue and trying to understand it, as well as reporting how cities were responding to it. Aspects present in articles back then usually included the history of the breed, dogfighting and “gameness,” and the devastating injuries pit bulls inflict on their victims. Some of them include: Pit bulls: part terrier, part terror (1985), The Pit Bull Friend and Killer (1987) and Pit bulls: Foes, fanciers agree dogs are a breed apart (1987). Browse through them (view longer list), then compare them to the all too often lazy journalism of today that continue to “frame” this issue as if the public is hearing about it for the first time (or worse, perpetuating a “fake” controversy), and also leave out the vital details of why pit bulls are inherently dangerous: selection for bull-baiting, dogfighting and “gameness.”

Examples of Common “Pit Bull Hacks”

  • Are Pit Bulls Dangerous?” — This is a red herring question, appellate courts in multiple states have already determined that they are. This circular debate is a 100% failure in advancing the honest debate of: “How do we stop creating more victims?” This overused, irrelevant question returns over 11,000 Google results. This particular example shows a live chat debate between several guests that inspired some blockbuster anecdotal comments like: “can stop by my house anytime and see for yourself, they are not dangerous. I’m more afraid of Chihuahua” #AdvancetheDebate
  • The Truth About Pit Bulls” — This phrase is most often used by biased journalists, sympathetic to pit bulls, to hide the truth about the breed. It usually implies misinformation and is also used to “generate” controversy and social media shares. This wildly over used phrase returns 84,000 Google results. Seeing the volume of propaganda web pages using this title, someone created a blog using the name and points out that “facts are stubborn things” and wishes “cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” This blog DOES offer the truth about pit bulls. #AdvancetheDebate
  • Pit bulls versus everyone: Should they be banned?” — This piece came after the horrific pit bull mauling deaths of Xavier Strickland and Rebecca Hardy. It qualifies as a Pit Bull Hack because 1.) The title perpetuates a fake controversy — right off the bat the piece admits that Detroit was not considering a pit bull ban ordinance — and 2.) It resets the debate back to 1985 and 3.) It sank to include Petey & Company. The public deserves better after 30-years of grisly maulings and deaths. #AdvancetheDebate
  • Pit Bulls: Menace or Misunderstood?” — This “For or Against” framing is another red herring that comes in many flavors. The framing sets up a circular debate that contributes little or nothing to preventing new mauling victims. Again, this should not be a debate about pit bulls, but about reducing violent attacks. As with most “Pit Bull Hacks,” it comes after a deadly pit bull attack and carries the traits of “let’s examine the divide” and introduces very little or no new information at all. #AdvancetheDebate
  • Similar “For or Against” framing questions — Pit Bulls: Bad Dog or Bad Rap?, Pit Bulls: Man’s Best Friend or Worst Enemy?, Pit Bulls: Dogs or Monsters?, Pit Bulls: Docile or Dangerous?, Pit Bulls: Friend or Foe? Also, “Is it the Owner or the Breed?” is yet another red herring “framing” question that accomplishes zero. The question is irrelevant. What is relevant is reducing serious attacks, maulings and deaths by pit bulls. This dated question from 30-years ago returns a whopping 100,000 Google results.

Since 1987, the news media has been seeking out mainly the same “experts” for “balance” when they “examine the divide” who have been diverting with “Petey was a pit bull” (irrelevant) and lying with the Nanny Dog myth.

What “Pit Bull Hacks” do not understand, is that even pit bull advocates are tired of these circular debates from 1985. Looking at the Virginian-Pilot’s social media campaign (for Pit Bulls: Menace or Misunderstood), there was only one Facebook share with 43k Likes on their page. Their Twitter campaign hardly fared better. They promoted the article in 4 Tweets out to their audience of 50k. There were ZERO “Loves” and only 3 “Retweets.” That’s all the response they got even by using photos designed to bait people. In a separate case, after creating the “earth shattering” piece, “The Truth About Pit Bulls,” the story did not even get one Facebook Like after the author shared it with a popular pit bull page. Finally, while these types of red herring and circular debate titles commonly indicate a Pit Bull Hack is behind it, certainly there are legitimate articles that also use them. Headlines have always been a primary marketing tool for newspapers. What truly defines a Pit Bull Hack is its “predictable content” that fails in anyway to #AdvancetheDebate.

Identifying a Pit Bull Hack

  • Does it “reset” the debate back to the 1980s or 90s?
  • Does it use a red herring or “For or Against” title?
  • Does it fail to contain any useful new information?
  • Does it invent or perpetuate a “fake” controversy?
  • Does it sink to include Petey or the Nanny Dog myth?
  • Is it from a Pit Bull Hack source? (a writer or entity)
  • Is it blatantly biased or perpetuating misinformation?

A “yes” answer to two or more qualifies it as a hack.


PS. Because these articles so commonly appear after a serious or deadly pit bull mauling, one can also call it a Post Attack Hack. Feel free to intermingle the terms.

“The REAL story was not told”

“The REAL story” is sometimes seen in mauling threads after an attack, but is more commonly found on nutter boards. The phrase closely resembles another Maul Talk term, “the story doesn’t add up.” For instance, a pit nutter might state, “Of course the REAL story was not told” then goes on to claim special knowledge (such as I know the family) of which there is no way to verify because the poster leaves no verifiable information.

There’s definitely something not being said in this story. Pitbulls do not just go haywire & attack unprovoked, unless they had rabies or were HORRIBLY abused. Get back to us when the “real story” of what happened here is told… – kaycee71
I bet you heard about a story about a young kid getting attacked by a pit. That is what the paper reported. But the real story was They kid was attacked by the other family dog. The pit then attacked the other dog to get it off the kid.!! – Chris
I would like to know what the real story was here! FOR SOME REASON THE PITBULL IS ALWAYS TO BLAME…..I KNOW IN 99.9 PERCENT OF THE CASES IT IS THE OWNER! – Blondie621

“Dogs are dogs”

Much like all dogs fight and it was a dog fight, the term “dogs are dogs” is used by pit bull owners after their dog attacks and injures or kills an animal (usually another dog). The term is used to deny the pit bull’s responsibility in the attack and to deny the pit bull’s genetic heritage: Selective breeding for the purpose of killing other dogs (dogfighting). It is true that dogs will be dogs in that dogs may bark, growl and posture when interacting with other dogs. What is untrue is the expectation that all dogs will launch a deadly assault upon another dog. Pit bulls on the other hand, will and do.

They just happened to be in the yard with me all day long, and the dog did go down and fight the other dog, but dogs are dogs. – Collins Tully
This article has already gotten a little longer then I originally wanted, so I’ll try to wrap it up. Dogs are dogs…..any dog that is made to feel dominate or fearful – Liz Churchville
Children are Children, Adults are Adults, Dogs are Dogs. Teach them properly and they will Prevail. – Tired of Ding Dong’s
I can’t say the same for my boyfriend who had the unfortunate task of removing the foaming at the mouth 8 pound hellion from our dog’s face. Dogs are dogs and the problem with dogs is they are governed by… – xgirl

“All dogs fight”

To minimize the selectively bred trait of explosive aggression in pit bulls following a serious or deadly attack (or when BSL comes knocking), pit bull owners and apologists will insist that “all dogs fight” or that “you can make any dog fight.” Meaning that such explosive aggression can be taught at will to all dog breeds. Certainly all dogs can fight, but only some dogs will fight and only one breed contains the tenacity to fight to the death: The American pit bull terrier. (See: All dogs bite for additional information.)

You can make any dog fight,” said Teresa Gardner, head of animal control for Hinds County. “But it’s what we do to pit bulls that makes them fight.” – Teresa Gardner
Lab’s are #1 for actual domestic dog fighting. All dogs fight all dogs bite. I am gonna get Pitt Bulls next. No more Labs. – Janessa70
I had a rednosed pit and he loved people. He wouldn’t dream of hurting a human. He turned on one of our dogs but all dogs fight and it isn’t just pitbulls. – Alli Turner
All dogs bite, all dogs lick, all dogs fight, all dogs understand right from wrong and they darn sure know when they are being mistreated in any form! Being a senior citizen does not exclude one from being a bad owner [This is after a 77-year old woman was mauled by her friend’s pet pit bull] – A Staffie Owner

“Perfect storm”

A “perfect storm” is used to describe a hypothetical hurricane that results in the worst possible damage imaginable. Author Sebastian Junger coined the term after learning about the confluence of three different weather-related phenomenon called the “perfect situation.” A “perfect storm” typically strikes once in a century — truly a rare event. We believe Randall Lockwood, a senior vice-president of the ASPCA, was the first to use the term “perfect storm” to describe a fatal pit bull mauling. He did so in a 2006 article by Malcom Gladwell. Lockwood’s presumptions have a basis in fatal pit bull attacks from the 1980s and have little if any relevance today. Further, the rate of fatal pit bull attacks in the United States today occurs on average every 19 days. Hardly once in a century.

“A fatal dog attack is not just a dog bite by a big or aggressive dog,” Lockwood went on. “It is usually a perfect storm of bad human-canine interactions—the wrong dog, the wrong background, the wrong history in the hands of the wrong person in the wrong environmental situation. I’ve been involved in many legal cases involving fatal dog attacks, and, certainly, it’s my impression that these are generally cases where everyone is to blame. You’ve got the unsupervised three-year-old child wandering in the neighborhood killed by a starved, abused dog owned by the dogfighting boyfriend of some woman who doesn’t know where her child is. It’s not old Shep sleeping by the fire who suddenly goes bonkers. Usually there are all kinds of other warning signs.” – Randall Lockwood

After the publication of Gladwell’s piece, other Nutters began using the phrase.

Dr. Randy Lockwood of HSUS called it “…a perfect storm…”, and I have to agree. A fatal dog attack is the result of a conglomeration of many things, all joining up in one perfect storm that goes directly against thousands of years of physical and social evolution.  – Jim Crosby (See: The Crosby Analysis)
She added that the dog’s breed isn’t the most important factor. “Usually it’s a perfect storm situation, with a lot of things that lead up to the attack,” Hetts said. – Suzanne Hetts
Extensive research and investigation has conclusively identified the ownership/management practices that are at the root of the rare, but perfect storm when a dog becomes dangerous. – 00kat00
Pit bulls already are known to be an aggressive breed, and the tethering makes them more defensive of their turf, experts said. “It was a perfect storm,” said Marti Ryan, a spokeswoman for Hillsborough County Animal Services. – Marti Ryan
In many cases, the dogs that end up killing have a history of bites prior to the kill, and in some cases, there are NO prior offenses of aggression and the perfect storm of events has formed and thus, an unexpected bite or fatal bite. – Leigh Siegfried

“Can you identify a pit bull?”

This phrase and its related themes are frequently voiced by Maul Talkers. The gist is that members of the public allegedly cannot identify a pit bull, despite the massive amount of press coverage (yielding 400,000 search results) of the Vick dogs and groups such as Best Friends and Bad Rap continuing to parade these pit bulls in front of the public via TV shows and more. Pit nutters go to elaborate lengths to trick members of the public into believing that they cannot identify a pit bull by creating “Find the Pit Bull” websites as well. A far more realistic Find the Pit Bull Test is located at DogsBite.org.

Variations include: 1.) Do you even know what a pit bull is? 2.) A pit bull is not a breed of dog, and  3.) Would you know a pit bull if you saw one?

pitsanddobs: “3rd Do you even know what a Pit Bull is? Would you recognize one if you saw one? Probably not most people can’t.”
Erik Hess: “First of all, a “Pit Bull” is not a breed of dog…”
Generic Pit Nutter: “If you wouldn’t know a pitbull if you saw one, you’re not alone.”

“Freak accident”

Owners of pit bulls often say after a serious or fatal pit bull attack that it was a “freak accident”. Google News Archives shows clear results of this when typing in the terms: freak accident pit bull. The term has been in continuous use by pit bull owners since 1985, after Wally Robert’s pit bull, named Napoleon, killed Deborah Pernell while she slept. The phrase is a complete denial of responsibility. Such occurrences are neither freak nor accidental when involving pit bulls. The fact that parents of victimized children and police authorities 25-years later still call such attacks “freak accidents” is regrettable and untrue.

It was a freak accident,” she said. The woman, who asked not to be named, said her children have played with the same dog at the Duck Hill Springs home many times before, adding that the dog owner “didn’t raise the dog to be mean or vicious.” – Unnamed neighbor
Rodriguez told the responding officer she had warned Edward Cahill to euthanize the dog, because the dog was violent and unpredictable. But today she says that is not true. –snip — “I don’t want people to think bad of pit bulls,” Rodriguez said. “It was a freak accident. He loved those dogs.” – Blanca Rodriguez
“I think what happened is that she had a ponytail and she reached down to get something and one of the dogs said…” — snip — Klemetti maintains that the dogs had never hurt people before and that the attack was a “freak incident.” – Steve Klemetti
A day after the family’s pit bull fatally attacked his pregnant wife, Greg Napora said Friday he doesn’t blame the dog. He even plans to bury his spouse, Darla, with their pet’s cremated remains in her casket.” –snip– “Whatever happened right now was not the breed’s fault” –snip– “It was just a freak accident.” – Greg Napora
Cook was bitten on his arms, neck, stomach, and leg. Nicholas Michael [Cook] can’t make sense of the attack. “I didn’t train him to fight or nothing, this was a freak accident,” he said. – Nicholas Michael [Cook]
It was a freak accident. It could have happen to anybody she’s [the neighbor] got three kids of her own. It could have happened to one of hers.” – April Sumrall
Hours before being mauled to death by the family pit bull, 12-year- old Nicholas Faibish had been told to stay in the basement … Maureen Faibish, who called The Chronicle on Saturday, trying to make sense of what she called a “freak accident.” – Maureen Faibish
It was just a freak accident that it got loose and went over there and attacked her dog,” says Vincent. “It’s not like Bella did it on purpose. – Jessica Vincent
“She could have bled to death,” he said. “The whole thing was just a freak accident, but what we couldn’t believe was how long it took for the medics to get here.” – John Ogden
Kenneth Smith, the child’s father, called it a “freak accident.” The animal had been chained to a tree but broke loose and lunged through a hole in the yard fence, he said. – Kenneth Smith
Agerson said her dog was friendly, and she was shocked by his action. She said he’s been destroyed … “It was a tragedy — a freak accident,” Agerson said – Tina Agerson

The following is a “real” freak accident:

Woman killed in freak New York lift crush
A woman died in a New York City office building after lift doors dragged her upwards and crushed her.
Officials say the woman, identified as advertising agency employee Suzanne Hart, was attempting to enter the lift when her foot or leg became caught.
The car then quickly rose, dragging her body into the shaft and killing her … The accident happened at 10:00 local time (15:00 GMT), officials said, but medics were unable to reach her body immediately because she became stuck between the first and second floors. BBC News, December 2011

“Dogs had begun scrapping”

This phrase stems from professional whitewasher James Crosby, who left a comment at a DogsBite.org blog post about the fatal attack of Mary Bernal. Crosby not only blames the horrifically violent incident on the victim and the victim’s sister-in-law, he also minimizes the attack by referring to it as the “dogs had begun scrapping”. Thus it’s perfectly normal for a dog scrap to result in one human being killed and another severely injured. Learn more by reading: The Crosby Analysis.

This attack began before the day of the attack. Relatives were visiting for a month and had a small dachshund. The dachshund had received substantial attention, supplanting the dog Taz in many interactions. Just prior to the attack Ms. Bernal had picked up the dachshund because the two dogs had begun scrapping. When Ms. Bernal yelled at Taz and snatched the dachshund away, Taz went after the little dog. Bernal held the dog up and screamed. Taz’s first bite was to Ms. Bernal’s hand, where she was holding the dachshund. Her screaming intensified, triggering further action by Taz. Ms. Bernal went down and Taz continued attacking the screaming, thrashing woman. Ms. Macias stuck the dog repeatedly with a shovel, intensifying the attack. – James Crosby

“Media hysteria”

Maul Talkers often say that pit bulls are the victims of “media hysteria”. A Google Search on the terms: media hysteria pit bull yields 14,000 results. It’s the media that makes life miserable for pit bulls; it’s the media that has damaged the breed; it’s the media that creates hysteria about pit bulls… According to Maul Talkers, the only time the media reports (or identifies) a pit bull correctly is when it is a “positive pit bull” article. In any other context, such as a serious or fatal pit bull mauling, the media erroneously identified the dog and once again victimized pit bulls.

The continuing media hysteria generated by bad press and bad owners – Rescueeverydog.org
Breed Specific Legislation and Media Hysteria Make life Miserable for Pit Bull Owners – Pitbulllovers.com
Could have been ANY breed of dog that ‘attacked’ you, BUT since it was a PitBull AND media hysteria, YOU don’t blame THE OWNER. Shame on you. – Onekingstar

The truth about the media is that they report gore and death, and pit bulls rarely fail to deliver. Pit bulls are also the subject of berserking incidents, when a single pit bull attacks and seriously injures multiple people. The media traditionally reports such dramatic events. Back when rabies killed many people, the media reported dramatic headlines like, “FIGHT WITH A MAD DOG.; Policeman Kills It While Its Teeth Are Buried in His Leg.” There was a reason for this too. A bite by a rabid dog without treatment meant a horrible death by hydrophobia.

“The most ‘abused’ breed”

Along with the term, “The most ‘maligned’ breed,” pit bull owners and advocates use the term, “The most ‘abused’ breed” to gain sympathy for pit bulls. The truth is the pit bull is the most abused breed in the world because its entire selective breeding foundation is based on dogfighting, and pit bulls continue to be bred for dogfighting today. The act of dogfighting is horrifically abusive and outlawed in all 50 U.S. states. Maul Talkers, however, will have you believe that every pit bull is born angelic and that it is due to owners’ beating and torturing the animal that it continues to maul and kill human beings and animals at an unmatched rate. Note below that 83% of the human fatalities involved family dogs, not pit bulls that were abused or used in dogfighting by their owners.

Mid Year Results: U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities from January 1 to July 22, 2010
DogsBite.org – Of the 18 fatal dog attacks recorded by DogsBite.org so far in 2010, pit bull type dogs contributed to 67% (12). This is equivalent to a pit bull killing a U.S. citizen every 17 days during this 203-day period. 83% (10) of these incidents involved a family pit bull killing a family member.

According to Google News Archives, usage of the term picked up in the late 1990’s and shot through the roof in 2005. One cannot read a mauling thread without hearing the verbiage echoed throughout. After two loose pit bulls killed William Parker in July 2010, pit bull advocates, owners, and apologists were out in full force to victimize the offending pit bulls who not only killed Parker, but injured four others:

I would bet that most posters would agree that not all pit bulls are vicious. Those dogs who are vicious have been shown no love, starved, and have been repeatedly abused and agitated, so much so, that anyone or anything approaching is seen as a threat. Undoubtedly, that was probably the case in this sad, sad story.
This is by no means a racial or location issue. It is about being a responsible pet owner treating an animal as a pet, not a means for what some sick people call “entertainment.” – illindtenn