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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Media Displays Anti-Shark Bias

posted by on May 28 at 12:20 PM


Sharks attack a few tourists and it’s huge news. It’s a disturbing development! An ominous pattern! A threatening trend! Meanwhile American youth pastors run riot—many of them raping kids—from one end of the country to another and… crickets.

Now I know that most youth pastors aren’t raping kids. But most sharks aren’t eating tourists either. So what explains the different coverage of these relative threats? Either the media has an anti-shark bias and is constantly on the lookout for stories and patterns of stories that make sharks look like vicious predators… or the media has a pro-religion bias and ignores stories and patterns of stories that make youth pastors look like vicious predators.

Whatever the cause, I think this is an issue that America’s ombudsmen and public editors need to address.

RSS icon Comments


at least it wasn't a pit bull.

Posted by konstantconsumer | May 28, 2008 12:26 PM

At least it didn't have a concealed laser permit issued by a pit bull.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 28, 2008 12:27 PM

I think people don't care if their kids get raped by priests. Just doing the Lord's work. Plus, it's not like they're sleeping over at Michael Jackson's house.

Posted by Jason Josephes | May 28, 2008 12:31 PM

Jaws. I think it is because of Jaws. Shark attacks make good sensationalistic stories because people fear them.

Sadly, people do not fear youth pastors enough.

Posted by PopTart | May 28, 2008 12:34 PM

People should be wary of anyone who tells them to get on their knees.

Posted by Jake | May 28, 2008 12:36 PM

@4 - That's why we need a good scary movie about youth pastors, perhaps even a trilogy. Hmm...but who would play the role of the creepy, child-molesting youth pastor?

Posted by Hernandez | May 28, 2008 12:42 PM

Maybe it makes people feel better about the whole shark fin soup process?

Posted by der | May 28, 2008 12:46 PM


My first thoughts are:

Brad Dourif
Crispin Glover

Posted by COMTE | May 28, 2008 12:51 PM

Or we could start a religious movement where we worship sharks.

Posted by NaFun | May 28, 2008 1:04 PM

"Youth pastor rapes child" = "Dog bites man"

Where's the news?

Posted by umvue | May 28, 2008 1:15 PM

Jesus christ what a broken record you are.

Posted by Burgin99 | May 28, 2008 1:22 PM

Isn't it a small price to pay for internal salvation?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | May 28, 2008 1:26 PM

Is it wrong that I think Ben Stiller looks sort of hot with that hair and mustache?

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | May 28, 2008 1:32 PM

What's that show on MSNBC where they lure would-be child molesters to a house and then spring the cameras on them? Americans eat that shit up with a shovel. They need a spin-off dedicated to corrupt youth pastors.

Posted by Tiktok | May 28, 2008 1:37 PM

Am I missing something - Ben Stiller has something to do with sharks?

Posted by Madashell | May 28, 2008 1:44 PM

I'm scared of Ben Stiller's man-rack.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | May 28, 2008 2:00 PM

The problem is the media's infatuation with man-bites dog stories. It sells, but it is not journalism. Dan should know this. His Savage Love column does nothing more than highlight exceedingly rare sex acts (i.e. diaper fetish). Funny, entertaining, but not news.

Same thing with the media's crisis of the day. Sure 99% of the time swimmers won't be bitten and children won't be sexually abused by pastors, but that's not news. Why talk about humdrum everyday issues when we can get the people enthralled with the most unlikely of "tragedies."

"The one function that TV news performs very well is that when there is no news, we give it to you with the same emphasis as if there were." -David Brinkley

Posted by Medina | May 28, 2008 2:09 PM

Eternal. Eternal.

Isn't it a small price to pay for eternal salivation?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | May 28, 2008 3:10 PM

I always love it when the media describes the child rapist/ serial murderer as "not fitting the profile" because he/ she is" a good, church going Christian ". Ha! I wonder how many times I have heard that bullshit. Countless.

Posted by Vince | May 28, 2008 3:12 PM

At first I thought Hey, that guy's pretty hot despite the 80s mustache.

And then I read in the comments that it's Ben-Freaking-Stiller.

And now I need some mental floss. I feel dirty.

Posted by Wolf | May 28, 2008 3:59 PM

Lots of folks have positive experiences/memories with dogs and preachers.

Sharks, anacondas, and alligators? Not many warm fuzzy moments, just the occasional Very Bad Incident.

Oh, and then there's yer fear of media bias by the media who's been told they're biased: you think they're about to go forth and treat religion skeptically? Or with a jaundiced eye? Or do any skeptical reporting while our nation is finagled into war? Nope. Too spineless. Don't want to fit the stereotype that certain folks (who have no agenda at all, no sirree) have accused them of.

Posted by CP | May 28, 2008 9:25 PM

My favorite shark quote:

Source: Nautical Quarterly, Spring 1981. Nautical Quarterly Inc., NY, New

In August, 1980, in the waters of Bodega Bay, California, an apparently healthy 7' white shark was found trapped in a net, and brought to the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco. The shark was placed in the Aquarium's "roundabout," a 100,000 gallon donut shaped tank that allows for continuous movement. The shark was walked by the Director, Dr. John McKosker, and various members of the Aquarium staff, to ensure that the necessary oxygen would pass over its gills.Although the shark seemed healthy enough, it would occasionally bump into the inner mullions of the roundabout, indicating to McKosker that its faculties - particularly its electrical senses - were somehow impaired. The decision was made to release the shark to the open ocean. - It was better than watching her slowly die, day by day, - said McKosker, and the shark was returned to the

News of the capture, display and eventual release of the white
shark was nationally newsworthy, and in the Cincinatti Inquirer the
following comments were made by a columnist named Bob Brumfield:

It is hard for me to believe that anyone of sound mind would capture a shark when he could KILL it, unless his purpose was to study the shark in order to develop an effective shark repellant or a way to eradicate the entire species once and for all.

This isn't a Bambi movie McCosker! You've let loose a relentless
eating machine with a life span of God only knows how long. You've released a dreadful, silent killer to stalk swimmers as well as its normal food supply of fish. You've turned loose a thing so demonic it will consume its own entrails during a feeding frenzy; a thing without fear, without any thought except to eat until it is full, then regurgitate and eat again.

I hope that big booger gets You, McCosker. I hope one night you're swimming in the Pacific, and you feel something rough brush against your leg. Then I hope you look up and see a big, dark dorsal fin cutting through the ocean, leaving a sparkle of luminescence behind it - just before it slips below the surface - and WHAMMO! WHAMMO! WHAMMO!

Posted by Adam | May 28, 2008 9:31 PM

Um, how about because sharks are bodacious and kick-ass primordial beasts of death that deserve some stories about them and people are expendable and edible?

Posted by Sam | May 28, 2008 10:30 PM

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