Media Bias About Pit Bulls on Display in Recent News Story

This is the photo that the Daily Mail chose to illustrate a story about a bad owner and a very good and loyal pit bull, who was by all accounts guarding the child’s door.

photo via

The argument about whether or not pit bulls are inherently “dangerous” usually involves a lot of statistics, anecdotal evidence, breed definitions, and references to media stories. This last one is the most contentious of the lot. To those who don’t believe that pit bulls are dangerous, the media seems to present a distorted image of the breed. A recent news story shows just how this works.

Last week, a Florida man named James R. Irvine was arrested for leaving his 10-month-old child home alone with the family dog while he went to a bar to watch a football game. I think we can all agree that this was a terrible thing to do, no matter what breed of dog is involved and that Irvine showed incredible poor judgment and craven disregard for both the infant and the dog. However, nearly every media story uses the word “pit bull” in the headline, as if this somehow makes the crime even worse.

More shocking, however, are the images that editors choose to illustrate the story. Most media outlets feature mugshots of Irvine, which makes sense. I mean, he’s the criminal here, right? But those that also chose to show a picture of a pit bull almost invariably chose a picture of a menacing or even vicious dog. This despite the fact that all the media reports note that the dog was found standing guard outside the child’s bedroom, as a good and loyal dog will do. Faced with the images shown here—just look at that image above!—how could the public not get the impression that pit bulls are inherently dangerous?

The debate over this breed (or even over whether or not it is a specific breed) will rage for quite some time, but there is no debate that the media has chosen a side.

Click here for the full story.

Here’s a fairly neutral shot used by The Inquisitr.

photo via

The Raw Story chose this menacing image.

photo via

CBS Tampa Bay decided that this was an appropriate portayal of the breed.

photo via

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *