Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

What media panics can lead to

Do you remember a few months ago, the dreadful case of the two babies who were mauled by the urban fox in London?

Do you also remember that despite the fact that these cases are extremely rare, the press went into panic mode about urban foxes with TV specials about them and far more press coverage than this "problem" actually warranted, making it seem like a huge and widespread issue.

Well, there is another horrible story today in the Evening Standard. Apparently a bunch of men have taken it upon themselves to lure an urban fox into a trap using drugged bait and then beaten it to death. They have filmed themselves doing this and posted it on Facebook. They claim they are doing this to rid their neighbourhood of this "pest".

I suspect there is a link between the actions of these thugs and the disproportionate media coverage that the original case garnered. OK, people like this are probably just looking for an excuse and they may have found another pretext for this sort of behaviour but I still think the media need to be more responsible and not blow situations like the fox attack out of all proportion.

It's a nasty example of what whipped up hysteria can contribute to.

H/T to James Graham on Twitter for alerting me to the story.

UPDATE 07/08/2010: It turns out that the story was an elaborate hoax by professional film-makers.

1 comment:

Matt Wardman said...

What a lot of idiots. They sound like the BNP talking about foreigners.

Interesting that a comment was solicited from the League Against Cruel Sports. What on earth has this to do with them? No one's suggesting that anyone thought this was a sport.

Exterminating urban foxes when necessary? Fine by me, as long as it is done properly and humanely - which means with a .22 rifle usually, before or after trapping.

It just shows how a debate about urban pest control has become politicised.