Today, Eagle Pass News Leader posted a story coming from Piedras Negras, Mexico alleging that a pit bull bit off a burglars genitals as he was being chased by police. There’s no citations for the incident, no dates of when it apparently happened, no name of suspect, only a few lines asserting the claim of the “hero pit bull” and this picture.
If the lack of information that provided by EPNL didn’t smell of a fabricated news hoax, the photos used should be a tip off, particularly of the “victim” burglar. The particular photo in question has been used in multiple news hoaxes over the years and that’s easily verifiable with a simple image reverse search.
In a world of fake news, you would think that a “story” with that little verifiable information wouldn’t be picked up by larger, legitimate news stations. Yet mere hours after EPNL posted the story, it was already being picked up and propagated by WJXT News4 Jax, KSAT ABC 12, and NBC News 4 SA. Clearly, they didn’t source it very well or evaluate it before “reporting” on it and sharing it to social media.
It’s no doubt that we’ve had a pretty horrendous few months of fatal and severe pit bull attacks, and likely the news stations were feeling heat from pit bull advocates for reporting on it. Since August, there have been 7 fatal pit bull attacks on Americans, and many more severe maulings. And as usual, each report leads to a slew of complaints from pit bull advocates, so much so that news reports are often leaving breed out of the reports when a pit bull attacks.
But that shouldn’t make news stations fabricate false pit bull hero stories or share them with little to no vetting and verification done. News stations should have an obligation to report the facts and inform the public and not reduce themselves to sharing fake hero stories to try and justify pit bull propaganda. Sharing and propagating these fake stories that are so easily debunked don’t help the public or pit bulls, they only serve to ruin the credibility of the stations that share them and lose even more of the public’s trust in the news.