Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Journalism is dead...Long live journalism

This may be the single most gullible piece of "reporting" I've ever seen*, and I'm reluctant to boost MSNBC's page views, but this has to be seen to be disbelieved. Headline: "Did eaten songbird claw its way through hawk?" Answer: Most assuredly not.

A sharp-shinned hawk was found—alongside a highway, which would suggest cause and manner of death to most thinking people—with a passerine leg protruding from its ruptured crop. Julia Di Sieno of the Animal Rescue Team, who supposedly has worked with wildlife for more than 20 years, led some (including, apparently, reporters with the IQ of broccoli) to believe that the sharpie's prey had fought its way out of the hawk after being swallowed.

This from the MSNBC report: "Birds of prey, like sharp-shinned hawks, typically leave behind the legs and head of their avian meals, Di Sieno said." Really? This is news. I flew a passage sharpie at small birds for three seasons, and she typically ate the head first. In small bites. Then she ate the rest of the bird, again in small bites, before (usually) gulping the tarsi down whole.

The original report from Noozhawk (headline: "Last Supper: Eaten Bird Kills Diner") quotes Di Sieno as saying, "In order to move forward with the Animal Rescue Team mission we have two immediate needs. A dedicated animal ambulance for rescues ($30,000), and construction of a new fawn facility ($20,000)." I would suggest that a better use of funds might be remedial education in biology for staffers and volunteers. Maybe Jeanna Bryner of LiveScience.com, who wrote the piece on MSNBC, can sit in. Or maybe she should look for other work.

[*Incidentally, my previous favorite was from the first Persian Gulf War, when a large segment of the Iraqi Air Force fled to Iran. A CNN reporter asked an Iraqi official (it might have been Tariq Aziz, but I won't swear to that): "Mr. Ambassador, does Iraq have a secret deal with Iran?" Apart from the fact that the two states had recently fought a bitter war and were generally not on speaking terms, what did she expect? "Well, yes, we did have a secret deal to save our air force, but...wait, is that camera on?!? Oh, this will go badly for my family..."]

1 comment:

Remchick said...

Gotta love those who got a great edumakation!

Just think, I was responsible for their test scores! And people have the nerve to wonder why no one wants to teach anymore. . .
Good post, Mark!