What began as a story about a moose cow and calf in the parking lot of a Lowe’s store in Anchorage has morphed into a troubling demonstration of the scientific ignorance of the American media.
Type “moose Lowe’s birth parking lot” into Google, and you will pull up countless stories making promises like these:
NBC4 New York, which proffered the latter headline, claimed “a crowd gathered to witness the miracle of birth Tuesday when a moose gave birth in an Anchorage parking lot.”
Anyone hoping to view this parking lot miracle will, however, come away unsatisfied. The promised video of a moose giving birth at Lowe’s is nowhere to be found at NBC4 or anywhere on the internet. There is only video of a moose mama with what an Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist describes as “an hours old calf.”
What, one must ask, do all the journalists promising video of a moose giving birth think birth looks like? Are they so ignorant they think moose/horse/cow calves are delivered all fuzzy and dry? Have they never witnessed mammals born?
Moose come out wet and messy as in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYCtSqHQHeY
That video is what a “moose born in” (insert location) looks like. The video was shot in Anchorage two years ago.
Look at the difference between it and the video claiming “Moose gives birth in Lowe’s parking lot:” http://www.ktuu.com/content/news/Moose-giving-birth-in-Lowes-parking-lot-381451981.html
Notice there is no calf wrapped in placenta emerging from a birth canal. Notice there is no wet calf struggling to its feet. The latter video is not of a moose giving birth at Lowe’s. It is a video of a moose and calf visiting Lowe’s.
Yes, it is possible a moose gave birth in the Lowe’s parking lot, as one clearly gave birth in an east Anchorage backyard in 2014, but as of this moment there is still no evidence to support the claim a moose was born in the Lowe’s parking lot.
None. Zilch. Zero.
If people watched this take place, as dozens of news websites now claim, where is the video? Or just one photo? Almost everyone in Alaska seems to have a smart phone these days, and no one took a photo of such a unique event?
A Lowe’s employee said she saw the cow and the already born calf show up in the parking lot shortly before the first shoppers at the Tikahtnu Commons shopping mall spotted the pair and a crowd started to swarm around. The same Lowe’s employee posted video of the moose duo on her Facebook page shortly after 1:30 p.m.
The Lowe’s at Tikahtnu opens at 6 a.m. It stays pretty busy throughout the day. It is hard to believe someone would fail to notice a moose in the parking lot on its side actually giving birth between 6 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, which is the likely time frame in which the calf was born.
Sadly, the lack of evidence of a birth has not stopped the media from going batshit crazy with claims you can watch video of the moose being born. Dozens of stories now promise that birth video. They then trace back to reports from Anchorage TV stations KTUU and KTVA, neither of which have produced video of a moose giving birth.
In the video attached to the NBC4 story, KTUU-TV reporter Caslon Hatch even states that what appears on camera is “a moose that by bystanders say gave birth just hours ago.” None of the bystanders making that claim are identified, but at least Hatch doesn’t make any claims to the moose being born in the parking lot.
She is to be commended for sticking to facts. The website of the television station for which she works – KTUU.com – however, appears to be where the story supported by the evidence – moose and newborn calf visit Lowe’s parking lot – became the story supported by no evidence – “moose giving birth in Lowe’s parking lot.”
KTUU.com is the website that two years ago featured a bogus story about a bear hibernating in an ice cave near Alaska’s Portage Glacier visitor center. The mainstream media passed on that story, but it was picked up by some fringe media.
This time, with help from KTVA.com and the Alaska Dispatch News (ADN.com), KTUU appears to have sucked the mainstream media in big time. The New York Times and the Washington Post have yet to pick up the story, but give them a day or two. The story was still spreading in the tubes Monday.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has mocked the established press as the “lamestream media” since shortly after she started running for vice-president in 2008. The accusation was over-stated in the beginning. VP Palin certainly didn’t get treated sympathetically by the press, but her biggest problems were of her own making.
But the lamestream accusation is now gaining validity. When the media decides to run with the story it wants instead of living with the story it has, is there any word for behavior other than lame?