Comic books shaped my childhood. I lived vicariously through them, saving the day over and over.
Along the way, I developed this affinity for the press. Superman and Spiderman worked for newspapers and fought for truth and justice on the job as well as while costumed. It really made an impression on me.
But, at the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man, it’s not like it used to be. The press often reports in an effort to get attention, not in an effort to share the truth. Thus, you end up with stories that get lots of attention, but have little to no strict research. People read the article and take it as gospel. Stupidity ensues secondary to sensationalism.
Recently, a dog in South Carolina became a viral news story after being euthanized by an emergency veterinarian. The story reported a slanted view of the facts in a successful effort to sensationalize the unfortunate situation.
The dog had a medical condition that affected its breathing and slipped away from home. The dog was found by a good Samaritan and taken to the emergency facility.
At the facility, the dog was understandably considered a stray. It was euthanized because of the level of suffering being endured.
This was a true emergency. And with no known owner, it was an understandable outcome.
Now enter the “reporter” and true owner. The story relayed the owner’s medical claims, none of which are likely. Per the owner, the dog had a condition, although the term used in the story is not a known disease. Also per the owner, the dog was easily treated with a specific medication. The drug mentioned in the story is highly toxic to dogs But the story was published with these details, implying the vet was at fault.
Very little research could have revealed the flaws. But instead, the story was shared. Now, the vet has received death threats.
My profession is supposedly trusted, but we are not respected. And, in part, shoddy journalism is playing a role. Always do real research. Please.
Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.