Officials at KATU-TV have responded to a parody of reporter Anna Song not with laughter, but with a threat of legal action.
The flap stems from Song's recent coverage of the Laurelhurst dog-poisoning case, in which she called attention to a controversial website, Leashyourdog.com, which had for the past year fought for enforcement of city leash laws.
The report fingered a Multnomah County employee as the man behind the site and implied he may be connected to the poisoning of 14 dogs running off-leash in Laurelhurst Park last July.
The site was shut down shortly after KATU contacted its Web host.
That riled up the folks at the Moynihan Institute, a website given to off-color commentary on local politics. The site is not connected to Leashyourdog.com but has criticized dog owners who let their pups run free. Its creators saw KATU's move as "a local media outlet trying to put down a dissenting voice in the community," according to its founding member, who goes by the name Link Hoggthrob.
The site, www.moynihaninstitute.org, posted multiple responses to KATU's report, including a dicey parody of "Mama Soong," a Korean mother with a Thanksgiving appetite for terrier.
Hours after the pages went up, KATU news director Mike Rausch fired off a letter to Moynihan, stating that the station was "pursuing a hate crime investigation against [the site] with the FBI and the Portland Police Bureau."
Portland Police spokeswoman Sgt. Cheryl Robinson, however, told WW that "to my knowledge we are not investigating a hate crime with KATU." What's more, she said, "there's nothing that would articulate that as a hate crime." (The FBI wouldn't comment.)
Rausch, meanwhile, has softened his claims a bit, saying, "We are exploring all of our legal options." But, Rausch told WW, he's still "appalled" at Moynihan's treatment of Song.