Ingrid Newkirk is an animal rights activist, an author, and the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She is best known for the animal rights awareness campaigns she organizes on behalf of PETA, which she cofounded in 1980. As PETA's president, Ingrid has spoken internationally on animal rights issues—from the steps of the Canadian Parliament to the streets of New Delhi, India, and from the drowning tanks of Taiwan to the halls of the U.S. Congress. Newkirk is the author of several books, including Free the Animals, You Can Save the Animals, and 250 Things You can Do To Make Your Cat Adore You.
Question: Are journalists doing their jobs?
Ingrid Newkirk: I think the media today is a total mess. It’s all sound bites. It’s all sex. It’s all confrontation. It’s all absurd, phony reality shows. It’s very hard to have an intelligent discourse that lasts any amount of time where someone can actually ask questions, you can answer, and they can ask a follow-up question, and you can answer it. You can actually get the brain opening, and closing, and moving around, and digesting this material and dwelling on it.
It’s what can you say in five words? How can you sum this up? So at PETA we have become gimmicky. We have become sex obsessed ourselves. We use naked women. We use scantily clothed people. We do whatever we need to do to take this serious message and try to get it into the media mind. And that’s very, very hard these days because the old days of the serious debate, they’ve gone.
Recorded on: November 12, 2007