Earlier this month, ABC’s Nightline featured a story about the problems in purebred dogs. I covered it here.
Unlike their British counterpart, the American dog fancy spammed the heck out of the comments section on the ABC New article.
Now, I’m in political science (at least partially. If anyone would like a Democratic campaign consultant– I can be of some use. )
Whenever you see lots of the same comments in a letters to the editor section of a newsaper or lots of the same comments on a youtube video or blogpost, you know there is a concerted effort at PR. It is very instructive that many of the people placing these comments are using the same logic and invective against the reporter, ABC news, and everyone featured in that piece. This similarity in their comments means that the fancy’s main people have given the breeders some sort of talking points.
The Kennel Club (of the United Kingdom) did not have good PR professionals working for its interests. I can’t believe the president of that particular club actually agreed to be interviewed in Pedigree Dogs Exposed. The journalists who worked that program not only interviewed the KC’s upper echelon, they had extensive interviews. And as a result, the KC people could not effectively manage the crisis. That’s why this program has been so successful in building the outcry for kennel club reform in that country.
The AKC refused to appear in the ABC segment. That was a smart move from a PR perspective. The AKC can stay out of it. It can call the report biased. Just more animal rights extremism.
And then, in wave two, they get their legions of loyal breeders to spam and troll any blog post that features this story, although they have not frequented this blog.
Remember, the mainstream media in this country is a wonderful political football for partisans of all stripes. And here I’m not just talking about the politics as we typically talk about it. Dogs are political. Dogs have lots of money tied up in them, and there are strong institutions that work within the world of dogs. We all know that institutions are mostly about credibility, and these institutions will do anything to protect themselves from losing credibility. With credibility comes power. Reduction in credibility reduces powers. Having no credibility means you’ll cease to exist.
And that’s the war that all PR professionals fight. The PR people working for the AKC are doing quite well at preserving the institutional legitimacy of that institution.
They are not falling into same trap that the KC fell for.
However, good PR works only so long as a spin can be made, and in twenty years, it is likely the number of dog breeds severely damaged by such practices will reach a level that far more people will be demanding reforms. After all, PR can only spin facts. It cannot change them.