We all know about the CBS spot on ferrets. We had an article in the Boston
Globe about a week ago that I'd like to mention. I respectfully disagree
with Bill Williamson's earlier comment that it was fair. It was for about
3/4 of the article. It had nice comments and photos from the CT show.
There was a comment by Tom French (Fish and Wildlife) that most of the
pickups they've made were sweet, but there were a few nasty ones too. This
is basic CYA and not a problem. Then, near the end of the article came a
paragraph that described two different incidents where ferrets killed a baby
by biting it to death. Not injured, but killed (why stop at a mere
mauling?). These two incidents have been discussed on the FML many times.
There was no mention of the questionable circumstances or the relative
rarity compared other pets. Nothing softened the blow.
The positioning in the article and the strong emotional aspect negated all
of the previous nice comments. This is a common practice in persuasive
techniques. People can have a selective memory and often times the last in
is what is retained (recency effect). Sharon Burbine worked for a long time
with the reporter to convert her from a ferret opponent, with apparent
success. I guess old habits die hard. But, both this reporter and the
people behind the CBS clip were "friendly" towards ferrets. It must be de
rigueur to include a shot across the bow in any media coverage about ferrets.
My concern is not so much with our legalization effort (I hope), but with
the latent effects. Will people be hypersensitive to any little bite and
aggressively report them in the hopes of saving society from one of these
vicious creatures the media has documented repeatedly? MA was the last
state to allow right turns on red and there are many intersections where
they remain prohibited. Many drivers still believe it is an unnatural act.
It doesn't take much of a stretch of the imagination to see a repeat of the
recent MD seizure and rabies testing incident. Will people here think that
the legislators were too hasty in letting ferrets become legal and decide
that they will resist at the grassroots? I've lost most of my hope that the
media can help us give the public a fair perspective on ferrets. It's up to
us on a one-on-one basis. People in CA have an even tougher row to hoe.
(@=@=) \ Till next time.......Rudy the ferlosopher
O__) \ \___
/\ * ) \
[Posted in FML issue 1214]