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.”