Sealing protest & media response
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2008:
Conventional activist wisdom is that confrontation attracts
publicity, which builds opposition to a grievance. An ANIMAL PEOPLE
analysis of Atlantic Canadian seal hunt coverage, however, shows a
low yield from ongoing efforts to confront and document the
activities of sealers on the ice, the chief protest tactic since the
The New York Times during the first two weeks of the 2008
sealing season published just one brief article about it, and since
1981 has published an average of just 1.4 articles per year about the
hunt. The New York Times total of 39 articles about Atlantic
Canadian seal hunting and related protest contrasts with 312 articles
about Japanese research whaling published in the same years.
The 2,064 U.S. newspapers, plus five from Canada, whose
archives are searchable at NewsLibrary.com have published an average
of just 0.7 articles per year about Atlantic Canadian sealing, half
as much as the New York Times. Coverage in 2008, however, rose to
the New York Times average. Japanese research whaling has received
more than four times as much coverage.
Searches of Canada.com, including the archives of 14
Canadian daily newspapers and 10 TV channels, but for 2008 only,
indicate that Canadian news media produced an average of 2.5 items
apiece about the seal hunt, from January 1 through the first two
weeks of the 2008 sealing season. Japanese research whaling had
received only one item per newspaper or channel.
Of the 1,546 total items of seal hunt coverage that ANIMAL
PEOPLE found, 22% mentioned Greenpeace, not even involved in
anti-seal hunt protest in the past 25 years. Ten percent mentioned
Brigitte Bardot. Prominent in seal hunt protest before the offshore
hunt was suspended in 1984-1995, Bardot has returned to Canada just
once since the offshore hunt resumed.
Nine percent of seal hunt coverage mentioned the
International Fund for Animal Welfare; 7% mentioned Rebecca
Aldworth, who initially represented IFAW and now represents the
Humane Society of the U.S.; 6% mentioned the Sea Shepherd
Conservation Society; 5% mentioned Paul Watson; and 2% mentioned
IFAW founder Brian Davies.
No other opponent of sealing was mentioned in even 1% of the coverage.