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NBC covers 'Flurry of Furries', leaves professionalism at door

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (8 votes)

There are many ways a journalist can cover a local event, add a little humor, and still leave the reader with information and some chuckles. However, in its coverage of a campaign to promote giving homes to animals in shelters, one NBC employee became completely enamored by the first image that popped into her head from the name of the campaign, and ran with it until all useful content of the coverage was forgotten in the slew of 'edgy' comedy.

Despite the name, "Flurry for Furries" is not a furry convention, it's a campaign the Washington (D.C.) Humane Society is running for the month of January and February promoting the adoption of animals from shelters. With our affinity for animals, furries have repeatedly come out in financial support for local animal shelters. For example, 450 fans raised $4,000 for the Mississauga Humane Society at Furry Equinox 2011.

I'm not sure there was ill intent on the author's part. Perhaps she was trying a Daily Show-type tactic, using humor to create an atmosphere of learning. In this case, it doesn't help her cause. Her jokes appear passive-defensive, as if she really shouldn't be doing it, but continues to anyway. By the end of the article, the one paragraph of substance talking about the benefits of getting free food, treatments, and vaccinations were gone from the reader's mind, replaced with the overall message that started and ended the article: "Hey Bevis she said furry, huhuhuh."

Left out was a great deal of information about the needs and benefits of working with the organization. such as: the need for temporary homes because they are losing kennel space and need short-term foster families, or how cats are two for the price of one, or even how you can donate. Left in was a bunch of humor devoid of pertinent information on how to actually help D.C. animals. Which was the intent of the article, right?

Furries, who may be the ones looking for animals to provide a welcoming home to, or provide a donation, would be turned off by the NBC article. I'm also sure the Humane Society would not appreciate being tied with 'unsavory' elements of the author's creation, particularly one joke that came of as really disturbing given the context of the innuendo:

The society is promoting pet adoption during the cold months. Not... not that.

It might be poorly written, but given the perversion she already seems to be tripping down, that line appeared to be a joke about bestiality and you're talking about the Humane Society? That's just wrong on all levels. Luckily, after that punchline she talked about the free spaying and neutering, the only useful information in the article.

If there were one word for the article, it would be 'unsavory'. To Ms. DiMargo, I have a bit of sage advise for her continuing journalism career. It is simply two words, and they might sound odd coming from a man who watches cartoons and role plays a kangaroo in his spare time. Grow up.

Comments

Your rating: None

In fairness to the author, when I pointed out the fandom's contribution to animal charities, she (@dcscene) did retweet it.

The term "Flurry of Furries" was also used in 2009, in a PETA article deriding the sale of real fur items at Further Confusion.

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (4 votes)

Wow; she didn't even give a reason as to why furry is so funny. You're right Sonious, it really is "Hey Bevis she said furry, huhuhuh."

Your rating: None Average: 1 (5 votes)

You wrote more than twice as much about the article as was in it. :/

Ignoring the forced spaying/neutering which is not necessarily best, I'm currently not very supportive of the humane society since they are prepared to kill people's pets over tiny technicalities.
http://coffeeandsleeplessnights.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/arizona-inhumane-society/

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (5 votes)

Humane societies, despite their similar names, tend to be independent organisations at the local level. So while in this case you link to is related to the Arizona Human Society, that is still a different group than humane societies in other states and the national society.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (2 votes)

Oh, NBC.. when will you learn? Your ratings are in the crapper (Univision and The CW are more-watched!), and your journalistic integrity is falling apart, and FAST!

Perhaps we should inundate WRC-TV (NBC Washington) with complaints about being compared to zoophiles? This is almost as pathetic as the reports WNYW-TV (Fox 5 New York) and KTTV (Fox 11 Los Angeles) made on Anonymous a few years back.

Or... is this a sign that the furries have finally hit the mainstream? They did get a nod in a Simpsons episode last year (the one where Moe pretended to be gay and run for city council)...

~ The Legendary RingtailedFox

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (4 votes)

Yes, because the best way to prove you're not a zoophile is to loudly protest a single sentence that doesn't actually imply anything at all. It's more likely a tasteless, baseless fursuit sex joke; you know, the thing we're actually frequently stereotyped with. The phrase not that specifically implies nothing at all; anything you bring to the table is your own baggage.

Nobody said "bestiality." Screaming "I do not have sex with my dog!" at the top of your lungs when nobody said anything about sex with dogs is not a good way to prove you don't have sex with your dogs.

Then again, oh, look who's comment got blammed.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I didn't get that at all. I think she was just inferring we are weird or freaks and probably assumed most people felt the same way. I'm sure she'll realize the error of her ways once she opens her email box and see's how many people she has offended.

Your rating: None

Look, I get that you don't agree with them, but was it really necessary to add the last bit? It downgrades the rest of your comment.

Your rating: None

I said that was a possibility of what the joke meant, she could have also meant, "They are giving away pets, not "furry stuff".

She's an intern probably who works on small time local stories, the only people to see this are people who have "Furry" on their Google News search or anyone who cares about what she writes. It's hard but getting angry and throwing chairs at them has a strange habit of making them feel less guilty about stereotyping you.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (8 votes)

To read bestiality into the original article means you have to be trying really hard to miss the actual joke that she was going for, or you're insecure. Let's look at it quickly.

It's about "flurry of furries" which happens to have the same name as our fandom. She only refers to a "certain convention" meaning we're already playing off the double meaning of furries.

Then we go further and she is more direct saying the furries are cute animals, not people in suits, a more direct mention of furries though still not saying it

Finally the big controversial line is really saying flurry of furries is about pet adoption not about "that." That being what she has been referring to the entire article, the furry fandom. Furthermore we know she means the furry fandom because the word links to the Wikipedia article of the fandom.

The picture of furry with the caption, "It's not what you think it is" is also a not-so-subtle hint at where the joke is.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None

I agree, I gave the joke a bit more bite then it actually had. What I read was "pet adoption during the cold months" and when she said not THAT, I inferred that to mean the previous part of her sentence was some sort of sexual innuendo. I mean, with how taboo she's treating the topic it made it seem as if she were talking about sex instead of just people who are fans of anthropomorphism.

It's interesting how one's tone can entirely change the meaning of a sentence. If you're acting like you're talking about something dirty, people have a tendency to think you're talking about something dirty.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (3 votes)

Huh. The way you're getting one stars for saying basically the exact same thing I'm getting five stars for suggests either furries really like humane societies or I accidentally set a troll on you in addition to being rude.

It really could be either thing, but just in case it's the second, sorry about that.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (4 votes)

I noticed that too. I get the feeling it's someone trolling. Or someone who disagrees with some of my ideas and so down votes everything I say regardless of it's content.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None

The sub-title specifies that the Flurry of Furries is "not something unsavory", so if your interpretation is correct, the author is indicating that this adjective applies to the entire fandom. Not much better.

Your rating: None

Boy, furries with an unsavory opinion?

Whatever would make you think that, Green Reaper?

Your rating: None

Just wanted to mention, if it's not already mentioned, that local news station broadcasts or publications are not the same as national broadcasts and are not owned by the national network. WRC-TV is not NBC News, Fox 5 is not Fox News Channel.

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (4 votes)

And how would YOU propose we handle this, as a fandom? We've already seen that ignoring bullies and trolls not only doesn't work, but it encourages and emboldens their behaviour.

~ The Legendary RingtailedFox

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

Trolls by their nature are looking for a reaction and don't care about the details of what is actually being said. They are encouraged by argument and other kinds of reaction. Even a well written rebuttal could be considered a win to them for the amount of effort they got someone to waste. In some place with limited consequences like the internet, boredom is really the only thing that will make them stop or try something different. Ignoring them won't make them all disappear, since there are quite a lot of trolls out there, some with inhuman levels of patience to dedicate to stupid things. But that is not the same as encouraging them.

The place for argument and response is when someone is well meaning, but ignorant. Then there is at least a chance words will have some meaning. Although you still risk validating ignorant statements to third parties, whether by them questioning why so much effort was put into countering some point, or because they find what you said/did poorly done or immature.

Your rating: None

In this case, the bestiality apologist is right; writing up an article longer than the original article and starting a campaign of complaint "inundation" for a throwaway gag line by a nobody is both a bad way to make the issue go away, and also makes the fandom sound like a bunch of whiny bitches.

Jesus Christ, the star of the Star Trek franchise went on Saturday Night Live and called Trekkies losers; we're going to take some flak. Flying off the handle at a non-event so non-eventful it didn't even garner a casual mention on the furrymedia lj community (an lj community based around casual mentions of non-events) is a bit ridiculous.

By the way, the furrymedia lj response was the correct one.

Your rating: None

I had no issue with her snerking on furries, just she could have done it you know, better. I mean, I know it's an American journalist, but if a columnist is gonna snark, snark good or go home. There are alot of unemployed people looking for jobs who could probably be doing it much better.

I mean this article might be rediculus and non-relevent for a 'serious fur news site' but I think it'd be hard to argue that it's LESS 'outside the expectations of quality' then the article it references that's from a MAJOR news corporation.

Seriously the article was even less then the quality I'd expect on LiveJournal. But at least it got above the Neopet Message Boards in quality.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Well, that's at least outside of "whiny bitch" territory.

Maybe we should inundate NBC with "If you're going to make fun of people who sometimes masturbate to 'erotic' Disney's Robin Hood fanfiction, you could at least try and be funny about it. Seriously, we're sitting ducks over here and that was it?" messages.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

Really? So becuase someone disagrees with you, they're now a "bestiality apologist"? I thought it would take longer for you to resort to ad hominems... let me try my hand at them, in that case... it's good to know that civility is a thing of the past when dealing with you.

~ The Legendary RingtailedFox

Your rating: None

The "Beastiality Aplogist" comment was not directed at you, he was talking about Rakuen who had his comment hidden where he noted my article was longer then the one it criticized.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

I see. His opinion is valid... i didn't really see any "bestiality apologist" sentiment there...

~ The Legendary RingtailedFox

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

It really was an ad hominem, because the "bestiality apologism" had nothing to do with his comments on this story. Except, actually, since we're on the same side in this argument, I don't know if that counts as an "ad hominem" attack so much as an, uh, "ad hominem" backhand?

My main point(and Rakuen's point beside "humane societies are bad," which I don't agree with and is probably what actually got the comment blammed) are a. nobody at NBC actually said bestiality; its just as safe to assume something entirely different was implied, especially since, though we as furries may not find something like fursuit sex that big a deal, most of NBC's audience will find the topic uncomfortable enough to get a giggle out of it, but not so offensive that they inundate the station with complaints. Besides, NBC may not be the best network out there, but I still find it unlikely they have dropped to such a level that casual mention of dog sex routinely passes the censors in news items. Basically, I think Sonious overreacted there.

I think you overreacted by calling for an "inundation" of NBC for what amounts to a tiny jab in our direction, that, let's face it, on the vast scale of "shit furries have had to take from non-furries," rates about a 0.00001 on a 0 to 10 scale. If bestiality was implied, that number may reach single digits, but even then, an inundation is hardly necessary.

So, I'm saying an "inundation" comes off as a. a bit whiny and irritating, and b. actually damaging if we start bringing bestiality into a conversation it might not have actually been a part of.

Your rating: None Average: 1.8 (5 votes)

Leaving aside any intended insults or whatever, which were unfair since it wasn't involved in the comment. I didn't say humane societies were bad, just that I disagreed with some of their views and was unhappy with how some behave.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

The only way to deal with Trolls is to...
Look good in the eye of the public.
Don't bite the line.
Report them and don't tell them.
Do good things like charity work.
Keep your oddities to your friends.
Keep most things PG-13 or under for the public.
Act Cool.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

This is pathetic. I've contacted NBC to hear their thoughts on the release of this article.

Your rating: None

Maybe if we were a little less oversensitive, people would stop using us laughingstocks.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Oversensitive to what? The original article or to the major pissing contest going on between folks in the comment section?

Your rating: None

It's not about sensitivity more then expectations of particular parties. If it was about being oversensive I'd be writing one of these articles a day complaining about some random nobody making such an article. The thing is this isn't some rand person or group on the Internet on their own site or blog. This is a major news organization whose main purpose is to inform readers. I hold them to a little bit of a higher standard, because if they don't hold themselves to that, then it'll be a sad day when I can't tell the difference between NBC and /4/chan.

Your rating: None

Pro-tip: 4chan has boards, NBC has channels.

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About the author

Sonious (Tantroo McNally)read storiescontact (login required)

a Kangaroo from Syracroose, NY, interested in video games, current events, politics, philosophy and writing