Dogs, Lies and Videotapes

When Mark Twain said this (borrowed from an old proverb) he would have had no idea just how relevant it would be in the 21st century age of social media. So relevant, in fact, that for a piece of news to spread through social media, it almost has to be a lie – or at the very least, an elaboration of the truth!

I took my daughter to see A Dog’s Purpose yesterday. It was her birthday and, having read the book, she really wanted to see the movie. And it was pretty good. Not Oscar-worthy good, but if you like a tear-jerking, feel-good moralistic story, with cute little dogs thrown in for good measure, it’s worth watching. Up until a week before its release, it was a highly anticipated movie, and then PETA released that video, apparently showing the abusive treatment of a German Shepherd during the filming.

And, without stopping long enough for wag of a tail, or a quick bark, social media went crazy, the video went viral, and there was outcry for a mass boycott of the film.

It didn’t matter that PETA had a history of heavily editing videos in their favor, it didn’t matter that the clip was released 15 months after the so-called abuse, and it didn’t matter that the industry has rigorous rules in place to ensure the humane treatment of any animals used in film.

It was just too juicy a story to not jump on the social media bandwagon.

This week, an independent investigation proved the original video had been heavily edited to tell a story that would not only negatively impact the film, but would get PETA a whole load of free publicity.  Because PETA believe it’s abusive to even own a pet. Yes, you read that correctly. Anyone who has a domesticated animal is considered an animal abuser by PETA.

Most people are unaware of the findings. Why? Because when they were released, social media gave a collective ‘Meh’. The truth is just too boring. In the dog-eat-dog world (pun intended) that we currently live in, both social and general media, promise to tell the whole truth…as long as it’s photoshopped first.


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