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Note to Mayor Bloomberg: Open Mouth, Insert Hoof

October 31, 2013

Vickery Eckhoff

Horse manureI’m getting a little tired of how the mainstream news media doesn’t factcheck its sources.

The latest egregious example is the New York Daily News, which falsely reported that NYC carriage horses would go to slaughter if the carriage trade is shut down—which it certainly will be regardless of who is elected as the city’s next mayor in this Tuesday’s coming election.

You can read Forbes’ response (“NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg Doesn’t Know Manure About Carriage Horses”) here.

The original Daily News articles are a too-common example of media disinformation—this time, with an authoritatively misinformed Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the source. The Daily News picked it up and ran with it—citing numerous “experts,” four of whom were not even named, and none of whom had a clue about rehoming horses.

Sure, you can dig up an expert—but their words only count if they happen to be TRUE regarding the specific claim: in this case, NYC carriage horses and whether or not they’d go to slaughter.

As it turns out, the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, IS an expert on this topic, and reached out to its broad network of horse sanctuaries, assuring everyone that the horses would have homes if their owners couldn’t find them, themselves.

Some of you may know of my long battle with the Associated Press to correct documented and serious errors repeated in 15 different articles published by the Albuquerque AP news bureau about  Valley Meat, a Roswell NM slaughter plant that wants to be the nation’s first to start slaughtering horses.

Correcting the news media is everyone’s concern, however—not just mine as a journalist.

I’m therefore inviting all of you who demand better researched, fact-checked and correct information about this issue, or the carriage horses, to write to the corrections departments of every media organization that gets the story wrong.

Write them and do this: demand they perform their duty. All of them have corrections departments. If they don’t correct, why are they there?

Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t know carriage horses, and he probably doesn’t care if he’s wrong. But I do, and you do.

Take the time to reach out to every media source—including the writer but especially the corrections department—demanding accuracy and accountability.

Be polite, be factual and be persistent—and don’t ever think they don’t hear you.

They do listen, even if they don’t act.

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2 Comments

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  1. Joni werthan #
    November 3, 2013

    I have a farm and would gladly retire some of the carriage horses … In fact I have in the past tried to purchase them from the drivers while visiting NY and not only were they not interested, the drivers were rude and aggressive.. Looks great for the tourist business…

    • November 3, 2013

      Thanks for your comment, Joni! Your experience supports the finding of GFAS—namely, there are lots of people who’d like to purchase (or adopt) a NYC carriage horse, contrary to what Mayor Bloomberg predicted.

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