Monday, September 24, 2007

Roland Martin: Media, Animals, and The Hierarchies of Abuse

In looking at a back link tonight, I found that a reader came upon The Dog House via a CNN Commentary by journalist Roland S. Martin. In this particular article, Mr. Martin appears to be one of many people that equivocates outrage towards Michael Vick and dogfighting to outrage regarding a variety of other abuses by and towards humans. According to the story caption, "Martin suggests the Vick case revealed the public and media care more about celebrity and animals than people." In fact, this concern couldn't be further from the truth.

Day in and day out CNN and other media outlets, and writers such as Mr. Martin, report the variety of abuses perpetually perpetrated by humans upon other humans. In fact, one human abuse case is as important as the next case and we do talk about them all and make our opinions known. We've even created a great deal of laws to ensure as best we can that these abuses do not continue. Doctors, lawyers, judges, social workers, and police are just a sampling of the professions that exist to combat such abuses. Mr. Martin is evidence that the media does pay very good attention to issues other than celebrity and animals. In fact, the general public is outraged and has been for a very, very long time.

Many people have long and vocally opposed dogfighting, but the issue was little more than acknowledged publicly until the media picked up on a celebrity involvement - that much is true. Unfortunately, it took a celebrity to give a face to an important issue otherwise traditionally ignored by the media, an issue that many people would otherwise not know exists. If the education of masses of people exists thanks to one person, one celebrity, and one event, so be it.

In fact, no one is being outraged about dogfighting or animal cruelty at the expense of outrage about human abuses. What has happened is that animal cruelty finally has been admitted to the until now segregated club of abuses worth being outraged by.

We all do what we can, when we can.
After at least hundreds of years of unstoppable human abuse, some of us hope that perhaps we can effect positive change in our behaviors towards other life forms.

Why might dogfighting and animal abuse warrant media play and public outrage? Perhaps because they are issues that bring necessary attention to the hierarchies of criminal social networking and the history of reporting such abuse. Because covert abuse cannot be stopped unless we speak out about it. Because abuse in any form will never end as long as it is segregated into degrees of acceptability dependent upon the perpetrator and the victim.

To read the CNN Commentary Where is the outrage when humans are abused? click on this link. To read more of Mr. Martin's writing, click on this link, or visit

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