Media coverage of Fox Attacks

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Red FoxesIn the context of a recent "fox attack" (no, not Fox News) in London, we want to draw your attention to an article just published in Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture.

Using a similar event from a few years ago, the article, "“Fox Tots Attack Shock': Urban Foxes, Mass Media and Boundary-Breaching" by Angela Cassidy and Brett Mills explores how such incidents play out in the media.

On June 7, 2010, UK media outlets reported that 9-month-old twins living in East London had been rushed to hospital following a “suspected fox attack”: the babies had been seriously injured. This story received sustained coverage for several months, and became the focus of debate over the behavior of urban foxes, and how they and humans should coexist.

Using textual analysis to unravel the various discourses surrounding this moment, the paper discusses how the incident became such a prominent “media event.” Alongside the contexts of the “silly season” and a period of political transition, it argues that this incident breached a series of spatial boundaries that many societies draw between people and the “natural world,” from the “safest space” of a child's cot, to the categorizations made about animals themselves.

The discussion moves towards the consequences of such boundary breaches, pointing to a deep confusion over the assignment of responsibility for, and expertise about, the figure of the “urban fox.”

Taylor & Francis has made this article free to download. Want to read more from this journal? Then join The IECA.

Photo by Keven Law from Wikimedia Commons.