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Wednesday, January 27, 2010 

OK. Here's the story. PETA is suggesting a robotic groundhog to replace Punksutawney Phil, possibly the most pampered woodchuck in history, in the annual celebration of Groundhog's Day. PETA's Animals in Entertainment campaign claims that Phil is unduly stressed by his annual photo opportunity. But that's not the real story. The real story raises this question... Ingrid Newkirk proudly proclaims that PETA is a "media whore" saying almost anything to grab a headline. Why do new outlets buy into that? Is Phil abused? Obviously not. Did PETA spend big bucks creating a robot groundhog with which to replace him?
So there's really no story here at all. Just a marketing campaign and a catchy press release outrageous enough to capture the attention of an editor who may have just laid off several real reporters and still needs to fill several column inches with print. The Internet has only made things worse. Now there are tens of thousands of websites scrambling every day for "filler" pretending to be thought provoking fact. And groups like PETA are happy to provide that fluff.
The question is why do we let them get away with it?

"Why do we let the (PETA) get away with it?" Great question and, unfortunately, an easy answer!

The Internet has become a great equalizer. ANYBODY with Internet access has the instant ability to render information and opinion that is "at equal" with information and opinion rendered by everybody else.

Here's the rub: All this great equality means that NOBODY calls B.S. on anything anymore.

In the not too distant past, people like crusty, cynical (and extremely fair!!) city editors called B.S. on a regular basis. That is why the B.S. like PETA's totally fictional mechanical groundhog would never, ever see the light of day.

Now, my friend, the question is how can the circus industry take advantage of this so-called equalization?? To some extent, you could argue that the Feld organization (and to a lesser extent the Cirque org) are playing this hand rather successfully.

Wanna call B.S. on me??

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About me

  • I'm B.E.Trumble
  • From Everywhere, United States
  • Ben Trumble works in circus, carnival, and media relations
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