So we've all had a few good chuckles in this office about The Oregonian
's street-box front page, which has been re-designed to provide you, the citizen reader, with the largest possible photos of dead football players and Snowball the deer. But today, in the wake of the Great San Francisco Tiger Attack
, the paper has crafted a measured, proportional response that in no way panders to anyone's fears:
AWW, SHIT! Could we be eaten by a TIGER? Are we all going to die? Should we go into hiding right now? Hurry up and buy a copy of that paper (just 50 cents!) and turn to page A8, where we can find out the answer is...
Well, that's comforting. "There would be no way for them to jump over the wall," the Oregon Zoo's admissions manager tells the O
. The story
explains exactly why marauding tigers are an impossible fantasy: "The enclosure is surrounded by an 18-foot-wide moat, and a wall rises two stories from the bottom of the moat." Nothing to worry about here, folks! Please enjoy the rest of the newspaper you just purchased!
Except there's one teeny, tiny problem with the story. If you look up four inches from those comforting tiger-enclosure statistics, you notice the dimensions of the San Francisco tiger exhibit: "Investigators are still uncertain how a tiger from the San Francisco Zoo escaped from an enclosure surrounded by a 20-foot-wide moat and an 18-foot-high wall Tuesday." Something sounds remarkably familiar about those numbers... Oh, yeah: They're almost exactly the same dimensions as our
tiger pen. In fact, the Oregon Zoo's moat is slightly smaller
than the one that didn't contain the San Francisco cat.
What we in the WW
newsroom like best about this whole journalistic exercise is that the O
sent two reporters to cover this story—one clearly not being sufficient to handle news of this urgency—and neither of them noticed that the consoling numbers provided by the Oregon Zoo officials were the same consoling numbers being provided by San Francisco Zoo officials until about 5 p.m. Tuesday.
So, to summarize: AWW, SHIT. We're going to be eaten by a tiger.