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Monday, February 05, 2007

Unfair and Unbalanced

In the interest of full disclosure, DoN readers, there are a few things I need to tell you before you read this blogpost:
1. There are few things that irk me more than Cleveland newscasts that hype and sensationalize news stories that would otherwise not be that newsworthy.

2. It irritates me to no end that news reporters intrude themselves into a family's most private moments, the most vulnerable of these being the death of a loved one.

3. I have an incredible fondness for and attachment to cows.

Alrighty, then! Moving on.

An absolutely freakish farm accident happened on January 31st in Lexington Township, Ohio. You can pop over here and read about it in its entirety, if you wish, but I will copy-and-paste the part of the news story which is germane to our discussion.

Basically, "Steven Walker was doing his daily chores with his two grandsons when the mundane became inconceivable. 'He was gonna separate the mom from the little calf,' says 13-year-old Zach Elbiali. 'The cow just started chasing him.' Zach was inside the barn at the time and immediately ran outside to find his 55- year-old grandfather on the ground inside the pen. It appears a defensive cow charged him, knocking him to the ground where he hit his head. Zach called 911, and stayed with his grandfather until the ambulance arrived. Walker was taken to a hospital where he later died." (My sincerest sympathies to the Walker and Elbiali families.)


The Suspects--photo courtesy wkyc.com

And what was the lead for this story? On the news and in its "teasers" it was Farmer Murdered by Cow! Give me a break. "Murdered?" Later, it was softened to "Killed", but even then. This is typical Cleveland reporting. And it's not even a ratings period.

Actually, the thing that irritates me about this entire story is that they are blaming the death on the cow. The guy hit his head, and not on a cow. Did the cow gore him to death? No. Did the cow bite his head off? No. Did the guy come up and just pet the cow and it suddenly went psychotic on him? No. Basically, this man was perceived as a threat to the calf by an adult cow; the cow defended the juvenile; the cow tried to stave off what it perceived as an attack by a predator. The guy then stumbled and fell and hit his head. On something not a cow.

Why such wholesale scapegoating of cows? Is this some sort of paranoia fed by the recent outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, also known as "Mad Cow Disease"? Because despite its first confirmed case in 2003, the US saw no real impact in its domestic beef consumption since. And now, scientists have discovered a way of reversing the early symptoms of the human form of the illness should anyone have the misfortune of eating tainted beef.

What more do these people want? They can have their burgers and eat them, too!

Seriously, what is more nonthreatening than a cow? Cows walk along, nodding constantly. "Yep," they seem to be saying, "everything is just fine with me." When you look into the eyes of any cow, there is no hidden agenda there. The cow stares blankly back at you with huge, limpid eyes, blinking perhaps, chewing its cud and offering no differing opinion, no debate. There will be no argument from a cow. Obviously, if you don't try to take a calf away from it, there's no problem. Don't try any threatening posturing around a cow. How tough is that to remember?

13 comments:

  1. V-Grrrl4:54 PM

    Just when I thought you couldn't outdo the "promiscuous pimento" in your dirty martini, you write a post about "scapeGOATing cows."

    Ha, ha, ha.

    So what's next for the brilliant journalists in Ohio--Man Murdered by Car (for a single car accident victim) or Woman Assassinated by Aggressive Germ (flu victim)?

    And let the record show that I know a thing or two about cows and back home in Virginia I had not one but TWO original works of art depicting lovely black angus in the fog.

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  2. Ozone depletion.

    These journalists are just closet tree-huggers with the hidden agenda of ending bovine flatulence.

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  3. So. MD8:40 AM

    The killer cow story has not been ignored by the White House.
    VP Dick Chaney recently told the President that “Cows are fearless and can be trained to be for duty in Iraq”. He went on to recommend that Bush send 2,500 special trained Long Horns to patrol hostile Iraqi suburbs. Chaney went on to tell the President that they could also be used to setoff Improvised Explosive Devises and the troops could have a Barbecue with the remains.

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  4. Anonymous8:41 AM

    The killer cow story has not been ignored by the White House.
    VP Dick Chaney recently told the President that “Cows are fearless and can be trained to be for duty in Iraq”. He went on to recommend that Bush send 2,500 special trained Long Horns to patrol hostile Iraqi suburbs. Chaney went on to tell the President that they could also be used to setoff Improvised Explosive Devises and the troops could have a Barbecue with the remains.

    ReplyDelete
  5. So. MD8:46 AM

    Damn computers. Sorry for the double post.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It is precisely because of the blank stare that I am afraid of cows. There's nothing going on in there at all . . . that's scary.

    As a teenager I visited my dad's friend's farm and was relentlessly chased by a cow. She must have sensed that I was afraid of her blankness. I saw my life flash before my eyes until I scaled the fence. Of course, everyone else thought it was the funniest damned thing they'd ever seen. "She just wants to PLAY with you," they laughed. I, however, STILL feel lucky to be alive.

    On the other hand, I inexplicably adore buffalo.

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  7. v-grrrl--nothing would make me happier than to find out that among the things we share is a fondness for cows, be it in artwork or the actual bovine.

    danielle--the cows have nothing on the menfolk at The Dept.

    so. md.--as long as they are texas cows, i say go on ahead. i have an unreasonable irritation for all things texan now...big surprise...and i have nothing against giving our troops a nice cookout.

    anonymous--you and so. md. are so incredibly alike in your thought processes, sentiments, and even syntax that it's eerie.

    so. md.--i'll leave the double post up to make me look like i have more comments. you know how excruciatingly vain i am.

    sputnik--welcome (back) to The Dept.'s comments! i must admit i find it hard to believe that a docile animal like a cow chased you, unprovoked. are you sure you didn't speak disparagingly to or about it in some way? were you wearing bad fashion, perhaps? eating McDonald's? think now...and report back. and had i been there, i would not have laughed. i would have been appalled. one ill-behaved or "anger-issue-challenged" cow can give all of them a bad name. as far as your buffalo fetish: clearly, it is a manifestation of this cow episode, for after all, what is a buffalo but a really, really macho cow? hmmmmmm..............

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have nothing against cows. I think they are very cute and I don't eat them.

    Where I grew up, it used to be somewhat rural and there were several farms. I'm not making this up. One day, a cow escaped from the farm and wound up on our front lawn. It went away on its volition.

    Another time, I had a close encounter with a cow and I swear it was going to charge. I mooooved away very slowly not turning my back on it and got away unscathed.

    I'm sure this cow had no malice in her heart, but cows are not to be toyed with!! : )

    And I love yesterday's tie report!

    ReplyDelete
  9. anali--I would be absolutely and completely thrilled were I to find a cow in my yard. I hear they only visit the Best People.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed the 2/6 tie report, esp. since there was NO TIE TO REPORT! LOL! I've decided to archive them myself as a Word document just for my own self-aggrandizement/-flagellation.
    They're actually a lot of fun for me to do. My husband thinks I ought to just start a whole 'nother blog for it.

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  10. My main source of news is cnn.com, which I normally check at least three or four times per day, and I keep wondering if it's just a coincidence that all of the most sensational stories have taken place somewhere in Ohio.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think your husband has a great idea! Create a separate blog and link it to this one. It will make it easier for you in terms of archiving and you won't have to keep updating your template!

    And then your readers, especially me, can read lots of tie reports in one sitting! This could be addictive!

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  12. Anali--I am giving serious thought to the Tie Report Blog idea. Serious thought.

    IH--I know what you mean. Sometimes I wonder if all the freaks have migrated to Ohio. Those of us that are born here can't be the sole source of it all, can we...? And hey! UPDATE YER FRIKKIN' BLOG. I start wondering about you.

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  13. I updated it two days ago, and I'm working on a more interesting update for later today.

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