Kyle Dyer dog-bite fallout: Is the video news?
The video of 9News morning anchor Kyle Dyer being bitten in the face by a rescued Argentine Mastiff yesterday morning has led to an enormous amount of debate in our comment section.
But the clip has also raised questions about whether 9News tried to squelch use and distribution of the shocking footage in ways that it's hard to imagine the station doing for any other story.
My point of view: The video is news, plain and simple. Dyer is a longtime, extremely prominent personality in the marketplace -- a fixture on Denver's top-rated morning show, and an undeniable star at the city's number one news station. Moreover, the segment itself, while undeniably startling, is not gory. No blood is seen, nor are blood-curdling screams heard. As such, we at Westword didn't hesitate sharing the clip for a nanosecond after it popped up on YouTube.
Afterward, however, Westword editor Patricia Calhoun received a phone call from Patti Dennis, news director of the station, asking that we take the video offline. And as KHOW's Peter Boyles mentioned this morning during a portion of his program on which I was a guest, various Clear Channel outlets received similar requests. KBPI had posted the video, but removed it, Boyles says, while other signals appear to have been under orders not to put it on websites or even discuss what happened on the air.
Just before the bite.
Shortly after Dennis's call to Westword, the original video was deleted by the user. At this writing, we don't know if this was done at 9News' behest. But suggestions that the video represented copyright infringement are extremely dubious. There are dozens upon dozens of 9News clips on YouTube right now, including some that could be perceived as embarrassing -- like, for instance, a video of weather forecaster Ashton Altieri telling a female colleague, "Congratulations on your big hooters." After this slip of the tongue, one of the other reporters on the set can even be heard chanting, "YouTube!"
In the case of the bite video, it certainly didn't vanish from YouTube after the first clip came down. At this writing, there are seventeen variations of it -- proof of the Internet maxim that once something is out, it's going to stay out.
The latest 9News report about Dyer doesn't include that footage, which is perfectly fine: The station is under no obligation to run it. And indeed, the story, while appropriately sympathetic to Dyer, who underwent facial surgery yesterday and is reportedly doing very well, notes that the Mastiff was giving off warning signs of potential stress before the attack.
Also included: Information about Max, who is being quarantined for ten days at Denver Animal Shelter. If all goes well, and he shows no sign of rabies, against which he had not been inoculated, he will likely be returned to his owner, Michael Robinson. However, Robinson must appear in court on April 4 over the matter.
The piece concludes with a long and caring statement from Dyer's co-anchor, Gary Shapiro, whose first Facebook post after the incident appears to have been deleted after it was quoted by the Denver Post. We've shared it below, along with the latest 9News story. To see footage of the incident yesterday, click here.
A note from Gary Shapiro:
I wanted to update everyone on Kyle's condition and relate some of my feelings about what happened this morning. I just spent some time with her, and she is doing incredibly well all things considered. Kyle had reconstructive surgery on her lip, after she was bit by the dog this morning on the air. Her recovery is going to take a while, but it is now underway. She wanted me to thank everyone who has called, sent emails, posted comments and sent well-wishes and prayers her way. Kyle is going to be OK, although she will be off the air for a while.
This morning we were doing a human interest segment, as we often do on the morning show. Tuesday, a firefighter risked his life to save a dog named Max who wondered out on an ice covered lake and fell in. We wanted to do an interview with the firefighter, who many consider a hero. Max and his owner were here too. Kyle was glad she got assigned to it, because she loves animals. Max and his owner spent about 45 minutes in the newsroom before they went on the air, and many members of the staff greeted them and petted Max. He seemed perfectly normal. During the interview Kyle petted him, and talked to the two guest. At the very end of the segment, Max snapped at Kyle for whatever reason and got some of her lip. The firefighter immediately started caring for Kyle in the newsroom and to us, became a hero for the second time. She was taken by ambulance to Denver Health Medical Center a short time later to be treated.
Kyle and I have been a team for 15 years, and I know her pretty well. I know she's a very loving person who deeply cares about people and animals. I know that she is a great journalist who loves happy stories - this was a happy story. And I know she is a loving mom and wife and wants to get back to that life as soon as possible. She's strong and she will recover. Please send your well wishes to the station if you want to, and we'll make sure she gets them. And from me, thanks to everyone for the positive thoughts and prayers.
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