Last week WCCO aired an investigative report about a Minnesota puppy mill owner who appeared to be shipping dogs to a meat market in New York City’s Chinatown. Through a miscommunication that will likely be cited in journalism classes for years to come, WCCO reporter James Schugel asked a worker at the Chinatown meat market if he sold dog meat. Thinking Schugel was asking about duck meat, the man answered matter-of-factly, “Yeah, we sell dog meat.”
After the New York state agriculture department searched the meat market for dog meat (and found none), the New York Post ran a story that was picked up by dozens of blogs and newspapers across the country, and WCCO’s epic fail was even given the Taiwanese animation treatment. This week, Minneapolis Star Tribune gossip columnist C.J. reported that WCCO staffers are concerned “that heads could roll,” and the SPJ and the AAJA publicly urged the CBS O&O to issue an apology.
All the while WCCO has tried its best to ignore the publicity and criticism, apparently hoping that the story will just go away (the station has scrubbed all details of Schugel’s report from its website, even as commenters ask for an explanation). When reached by phone today, the station’s communications director stuck with a “no comment.” Since WCCO continues to ignore the issue and much of the public outcry has been based on hearsay, TVSpy has decided to run a transcript of the story… Read more