WHEN KBTX RECEIVES A PRESS RELEASE FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT, AS A GENERAL RULE, WE DON’T CALL THE BRYAN OR COLLEGE STATION P-D AND ASK, “NOW, ARE YOU SURE THIS NAME IS CORRECT AND DO YOU KNOW FOR A FACT THIS PERSON REALLY DID WHAT YOU SAY THEY DID.” OBVIOUSLY – INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.
SOMETIMES IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT LAW ENFORCEMENT SAYS, KBTX IS ACCUSED OF BEING “BIASED”. IT WAS A TRAGIC EVENT, MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICIALS SENDING A RELEASE ABOUT A PIT BULL ATTACK INVOLVING A CHILD. LAURA’S E-MAIL STARTED NICELY, SYMPATHETIC, BUT AS A DEFENDER OF PIT BULLS, IT TURNED MEAN, ACCUSATORY AND - WELL, A LITTLE PERSONAL. THE NOTE WAS LONG – WE’LL GIVE YOU THE BEST OF IT. HER NOTE WAS SENT TO NEWS DIRECTOR MIKE GEORGE.
“I do not fault you for the reporting of a tragic accident such as this, but I fault you for uniformed and biased reporting. Who decided it was a pit bull? Was it an animal control officer or the owner? Pit bulls are often misidentified and unless someone with knowledge of these types of dogs was consulted, you are speculating on the type of dog involved. About a year or two ago, you all reported on a story of a young boy attacked by dogs in the Ft. Worth area. You all reported them as pit bulls. The dogs involved in the attack were actually boxers, not pit bulls. I believe you need to get accurate information before you start reporting "facts".”
FIRST – WHO DECIDED IT WAS A PIT BULL? LAW ENFORCEMENT. AND REGARDING THE FORT WORTH ATTACK, THE STORY CAME FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS. IT DOESN’T MEAN THERE AREN’T ERRORS AT TIMES, BUT WE TRUST OUR SOURCES. AS FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, WE WEREN’T UNINFORMED, NOR WERE WE BIASED.
BACK TO THE NOTE:
“The only time you report anyone being attacked or killed by a dog is when it is a pit bull (whether it actually is or not). If dog attacks are news worthy, then I believe you need to report ALL dog attacks, not just pick and choose what is going to stir up the public and start controversy. I believe you have a personal vendetta towards these types of dogs, so you are going to push your agenda of ignorance and fear instead pursuing ethical and responsible reporting.”
AGAIN, LAURA – NOT TRUE. THERE ARE COUNTLESS TIMES THROUGH THE YEARS LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS PROVIDED US WITH INFORMATION ON DOG BITES, AND WE DO WHAT WE CAN – TO GET THE WORD OUT AND ASSIST THEM IN FINDING THE OWNER. STIRRING UP CONTROVERSY? NOT SOMETHING WE DO, AND I LOVE DOGS. NO PERSONAL VENDETTA. THAT’S RIDICULOUS.
THIS PERSON THEN HAD SOME GOOD ADVICE, SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE AND A SUGGESTION REGARDING A STORY WE MIGHT DO ABOUT EDUCATING CHILDREN ABOUT DOGS, ESPECIALLY THOSE CHAINED IN A YARD. SHE SHARED A LOT ABOUT DOG BEHAVIOR, GOOD INFORMATION.
THEN, SHE WRAPS UP WITH THIS:
I would like a personal response from you and not an automated message "thanking me for airing my concerns, and you will consider those in the future", or some other nonsense. I want to know who decided it was a pit bull type dog and what credentials they have to be able to identify it correctly, and I want to know why YOU specifically target these types of dogs. I also want to know what specific knowledge you have about dog behavior and if you even own a dog. Do you have children or grandchildren? What are their ages, and what is your philosophy about children and dogs?
LAURA – ANYONE WHO KNOWS ME – OR KBTX WILL TELL YOU, I WILL ALWAYS RESPOND PERSONALLY. “WE” DO NOT SPECIFICALLY TARGET THESE TYPES OF DOGS. I OWN A DOG, HAVE HAD ONE ALL MY LIFE, I LOVE ALL DOGS – I CAN’T BELIEVE MY CAREER HAS REACHED THE POINT WHERE I’M ACTUALLY PROCLAIMING MY LOVE FOR DOGS ON-AIR – GOOD GRIEF!
I HAVE CHILDREN, THEY ARE NOW 12, THEY LOVE THAT DOG NAMED DALLAS - AND WHILE YOUR QUESTIONS ARE OVER THE LINE, I APPRECIATE YOU WRITING AND GIVING US A WAY TO RESPOND. YOUR ASSERTIONS ON OUR HANDLING OF THIS INFORMATION IS NOTHING SHORT OF ABSURD. THE STORY SUGGESTION WAS A GOOD ONE. I APPRECIATE AND RESPECT YOUR PASSION.
OVER-RIDING ANYTHING – IS THE HURT I FEEL, AS A PARENT OF TWO CHILDREN, FOR THE FAMILY IN MONTGOMERY. SADLY, SOCIETY ALWAYS FINDS A WAY TO TURN TRAGEDY INTO SOMETHING POLITICAL. HOW TRIVIAL THIS REALLY IS IN THE GRAND SCHEME – WHEN A FAMILY IS HURTING.
BE IN TOUCH ANYTIME – WE’RE LISTENING – WE WILL RESPOND – AND YOUR OPINION ALWAYS MATTERS TO KBTX.