Saturday, September 1, 2007

Time to Think Differently about the Michael Vick Story

With all of the hullabaloo surrounding the infamous Michael Vick dog-fighting case, I have noticed a recent backlash regarding the treatment he has received from the media and public at large.

A recap: once the story broke, an immediate and intense firestorm swelled when people got word that Vick was involved in a dog fighting ring and ultimately killing many "underperforming" dogs.

But then in the past few days or so, I've observed several instances of people expressing their concern and/or disgust for how far the outcry has gone. I have heard the following arguments, either on talk radio, in the commentary section of the newspapers, or on TV:

-Although dog fighting is gross and inhumane, what's the difference between that and killing a mouse in your house?

-This case has garnered so much attention, but why can't we garner that kind of attention when a man beats his wife?

-If you eat meat, you're essentially doing the same thing as what Vick did.

While all of these questions are valid, I see it a different way. It's not an "apples and apples" comparison.

For starters, the reason that this became such big news, is, in fact, because it truly is big news. Any reporter, marketer, or public relations expert will tell you that the only things that make big news are the things that are undeniably different from the rest of what's going on during that particular day.

So, for better or worse, killing a mouse, abusing a spouse, or eating a grouse (sorry, the rhyme was too good to pass up there) are not inherently different from what goes on in ordinary life. A millionaire, celebrity pro football player electrocuting dogs in his own mansion is undeniably different. And that's why it makes the news. Trying to determine if it received too much or too little attention is pointless. People are interested in hearing the stories that are different, and that will never change.

All in all, my main point here is that we should treat each individual issue separately and not try to compare what is more or less important.

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