January 08, 2002
So anyway, that's how I've felt the last day reading the latest target of blogger whack-a-mole: animal rights activists, an instigated by Collin Levey's Opinion Journal piece, "Anticircus Freaks." Fresh off the latest attacks of Cornell West and Stephanie Salter, the blog-mob saw fresh blood, so to speak, in PETA and other assorted groups, and moved in for the kill. While I have no love for the animal-rights movement, the gloating, yay-meat attitude and vindictive response elicited by the slanted article has left me a little cold.
Levey's article portrays Ringling Brothers as the poor, besieged little group bravely going about their job of entertaining America despite unwarranted harassment from vicious and vengeful animal-rights groups. Until now, that is, since they can't stand no more, and they've begun taking on the groups with a series of full-page newspaper ads. In truth, Ringling Brothers' behavior has been far from stoic, with tactics that have gone far beyond simple PR campaigns. The Salon story "The Greatest Vendetta on Earth" details the company's owner's obsession with surveillance and revenge, and the eight-year campaign to ruin an author who had reported critically about the organization and its owners. (Thanks to Justin Slotman for reminding me about this article
The company didn't only spy on nosy journalists, however. Keep in mind, Levey has earlier said that "Ringling Brothers is not easily provoked" and that the company saw dealing with animal-rights groups and the "subsequent
public-relations skirmishes as just another cost of doing business in the modern world."
"The fun doesn't stop there. […] In another amusing twist, PETA filed a lawsuit this summer accusing Ringling Bros. of espionage, after the company hired the CIA's Reagan-era special-ops director to infiltrate PETA with moles to find out about future activities."
Imagine those "screeching," "snarling" activists, being so ridiculous to accuse Ringling Brothers of espionage when all the company did was sic A FREAKING FORMER SPECIAL OPERATIONS DIRECTOR OF THE CI-FREAKING-A on them! What a silly little prank!
As for the abuse charges, while there's no point in me trying to summarize reams of data and arguments in this forum, I'll just say that what I've seen makes me unable to dismiss the complaints out of hand, as opposed to Mr. Levey, whose article reads like it came straight from the Ringling Brothers PR department. Unfortunately, little of what I read has bothered to make any sort of argument or address any issues, but has simply been used as an opportunity to pile on the lefties. I had hoped for a bit more from the crowd besides the assorted knee-jerk victory dances from the past few days.
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