In November of last year, AKC received an inquiry from HBO Real Sports. They told us they wanted to do a story about the dog sports in America, how it has evolved and the role that health plays in competition and breed standards. After months of conversation, deliberation, negotiation and preparation, AKC made the decision to go on camera with a vet by our side and promote our positions on purebred health.
You may ask why we would agree to a sit-down on such a controversial topic. The answer is simple. AKC will no longer look at the news media as an enemy to avoid. Rather, we will use the media as a platform to stand up for dogs, breeders, Parent Clubs and owners. We will use the media to stand against our detractors who spread lies and half-truths with reckless abandon.
While we were assured a “fair and balanced” story by producer Jason Samuels with topics to include the tradition, growth and evolution of the sport, our 30 minute interview was little more than an agenda-driven interrogation focused entirely on every ridiculous half-truth and bias associated with purebred dogs and the role of breed standards. We were shocked that correspondent Soledad O’Brien let her history of disliking dogs turn into a prejudiced, angry rant. But it didn’t matter because Dr. Cindy O’Connor, a Theriogenologist vet (not an AKC researcher as HBO misstated), and our AKC spokesperson, Chris Walker, were prepared to take on their badgering and misguided questions…and then set the record straight. When HBO tried to put words in our mouths we fought back with the truth, delivered with respect. They tried to get us to confess to a fantasy conjured from the talking points of our adversaries. But we never broke from the truth, and we never will.
Here’s where HBO Real Sports got it wrong, and here’s what they didn’t show you.
AKC is going to promote what we do every chance we get. We are going to respond to every unfair claim about breeders, every inaccuracy about purebreds, every criticism of the standard and every falsehood about canine health. And we call to you – our breeders, constituents, dog lovers – to join us in standing up for our work, our mission and our dogs.
If you’d like to let HBO Real Sports know how you feel about their agenda-driven piece, we invite you to contact the relevant players via email, phone or social media below:
HBO Real Sports general inquiries
(212) 512-1000 (main HBO switchboard)
HBO Real Sports Facebook page
HBO Real Sports Youtube page
Rick Bernstein, Executive Producer, HBO Real Sports
Soledad O’Brien, Correspondent, HBO Real Sports
Soledad O’Brien Facebook page
Jason Samuels, Producer, HBO Real Sports