WCCO-TV’s first public note on ‘duck/dog’ controversy adds no new detail

WCCO-TV on Wednesday afternoon posted its first public reaction to the “duck/dog” controversy that erupted after it aired James Schugel’s Oct. 31 I-Team investigation alleging a New York City market sold Minnesota-bred dogs as meat.

The station subsequently pulled the story and removed all mention of it on its news site. MinnPost’s David Brauer detailed the incident here, noting that the station “has told viewers nothing about why: No retraction, correction or even ‘we’re still investigating.’ “

The TV station’s three-paragraph “Editor’s note” is essentially a shorter version of the internal memo it issued last week. The station says: 

On Oct. 31, WCCO aired a story during our 10 p.m. news about a dog breeder who was found to have sold nearly 1,400 dogs after her USDA license to sell was terminated in August 2010.

While investigating where those dogs ended up, we discovered an address where, on 12 separate occasions over a period of approximately a year, a total of 168 dogs were shipped. At that address in New York, we found two business establishments including a market. During our visit we found no evidence of the dogs.

When we called the market, the person we spoke to said he didn’t speak English but then gave an interview in English. We asked him if the market sold dogs, and we believed he answered in the affirmative. We now believe he said duck.

The WCCO statement does not address the apology requested by the Minnesota chapter of the Asian American Association of Journalists or criticism from the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Even so, the Asian American journalism group issued a brief statement later in the day that said in part: “We applaud WCCO for responding to AAJA’s concerns and look forward to strengthening a trusted, long term partnership between our two organizations.”

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Mitch Odahowski on 11/24/2011 - 03:39 pm.

    WCCO-TV, its newsroom, its management are a joke. They are a mockery of everything TV journalism is supposed to stand for. Everyone makes a mistake, man-up and just admit it.

    As the old saying goes “the cover up is always worse than the crime.”

    Time to clean house….again.

  2. Submitted by Jeff Kline on 11/27/2011 - 09:15 am.

    Because WCCO has largely departed from what it once was back in the 70’s and 80’s; I have stopped looking at much of anything on there. The news has been completely banned in my house along with WCCO radio which also tends to follow; unlike the way they used to operate.

    I have no (zero) confidence in anything from the major media markets; aka CBS, ABC, and NBC because their bias and outright “storytelling” have been on note on numerous occasions and simply chalked up to errant journalism. At times; even FOX has been “busted” for some things. As I’ve been hearing however, it’s because of poor hiring choices made by HR. They have been quick to fix the problem at FOX. WCCO still largely has all the same people. 🙁

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/28/2011 - 07:37 am.

    Not sufficient. On air mistakes need to be corrected on air, not buried in the website somewhere. The find time for all kinds of meaningless crap during a half hour broadcast, they can spare ten seconds for a correction now and then, especially one involving perceived ethnic slur.

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