One of the more amusing things about radical political movements, such as the animal rights movement, is just how seriously they take themselves. In a press release announcing its annual list of media “foe-paws” (who thought that up), Ark Trust’s Gretchen Weiler goes on about the supposed overwhelming influence of the media,
In our role as media watchdog, we must be ever-vigilant and speak out about negative as well as positive messages. Either from ignorance or insensitivity, these movies, television shows, magazines and newspapers communicate messages that desensitize the public toward animal suffering and are deserving of a “Foe Paw,” our end-of-year dishonor roll.
What images in the popular media “desensitize the public toward animal suffering”? Here’s a sample.
- Unsurprisingly, 20/20′s John Stossel gets a prominent mention for a segment on that show that criticized the animal rights movement. As the Ark Trust recognizes, the last thing in the world the animal rights movement can stand is any criticism, because it is modeled on philosophical premises that the overwhelming majority of Americans reject.
- The film, The Wonder Boys, gets a “foe paw” for its black comedy treatment of a professor who shoots a dog and puts it in the trunk of his car.
- CBS’ “Survivor” television show obviously comes in for criticism for advancing the bizarre notion that human beings might use fish, chickens, and even rats as a food source. Oddly, Ark Trust says, “We’d rather watch “Gilligan’s Island” — but didn’t that show frequently use non-human primates for some of its more amusing episodes?
- “The Today Show” earns a “foe paw” for “glorifying” the use of animals in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
- All of the sports shows on TNN, ESPN, and ESPN2 earned “foe paws.”
- Jay Leno receive Ark Trust’s enmity for a skit in which Leno put a toy puppy in a wok and said the dish was a favorite in Korea. Bad taste, perhaps, and a bit inaccurate, but obviously it hasn’t done much to desensitize Americans as there have been no reported cases of people trying to fry up dogs in the United States.
The dirty dozen doesn’t save the day. Ark Trust, Press Release, December 11, 2000.