N.Y. Post: WCCO reporter heard "dogs," source said "duck"

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 9, 2011 - 4:38 PM

The Star Tribune has obtained a "cached" transcript of a WCCO-TV I-TEAM report with inaccurate information about a Minnesota puppy mill allegedly sending dogs to a meat market in NYC's Chinatown.

"The station is not making any comments on the story," Kiki Rosatti, director of communications and content at the CBS-owned station, said on Friday. When I noted that the story and video from reporter James Schugel's investigation were no longer on WCCO's website, Rosatti simply said, "No, it's not."

A Friday story in the NY Post disclosed the inaccuracies in Schugel's story: www.nypost.com/p/news/local/chinatown_meat_market_bit_by_err_I8j6xilZnyMh1k97okBcsI.

The Post claims that Schugel's inaccuracies were caused by an address mixup followed by a phone call during which the word "duck" sounded like "dog." A New York Agriculture Department inspection of the market found no evidence of dog meat.

The "cached" transcript of Schugel's phone call to the meat market quotes the WCCO reporter as asking, "Do you sell dogs?"

The man who answered the phone said, "Yea. We sell dogs."

Schugel: "Dogs for people to eat?"

The man: "Uh, yea. We sell many kinds of meat."

Schugel, again: "Dogs for people to eat?"

The man: "Yes."

The I-TEAM questioned the man again, "just to be clear" reads the transcript. "He said he does not sell dogs for pets. He only sells them for food."

Insert "ducks" for "dogs," words that may sound the same over the phone, and it's easy to understand the miscommunication.

One by-product of this embarrassing error in the November sweeps report may be harsh disciplinary action for some WCCO employees, I've been told. Word is that the mood was tense around the station as managers examined the slip-up and fallout from the story. Concerns are high that heads could roll.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on FOX 9 Thursday mornings.

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