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Global Post expose: Inside the Southeast Asian Dog-Meat Mafia

NECN/Hearst hearthrob Philip Balboni's Boston-based online-journalism site GLOBAL POST has been making its bones by covering serious international news for a worldwide, English-speaking audience -- they just landed a partnership with PBS's austere News Hour with Jim Lehrer -- but some things about international reporting never change. When you want to make a big splash, go for the story about how Asian people eat dogs. And compound it with a sparsely-sourced but lengthy sidebar about how the dog-meat trade is fueling crazy Jet Li-like Asian gangs

Here's the lead (cue deep, omniscient, NatGeo-ish baritone -- maybe Morgan Freeman?):

"By day, this is a forgettable farming village, a speck of civilization sprung from the Mekong River banks.

Buffalo and man work the earth, scenting the breeze with toiled dirt. Teenagers zip along rice pastures on noisy motorbikes. Across the river, Laos’ scrubby shore is visible through a silver mist.

But after nightfall, the howling begins."

Well, you might say, at least they're taking something approaching the high road and doing some reporting -- I mean, someone actually flew to Thaliand and got an actual motorcycle dealer to go on the record as saying that politicians are taking a 75-cent-per-pooch kickback on the Vietnamese canine-cuisine smuggling racket. And the Post's multi-part coverage has the bite (pardon the metaphor) of a classic do-gooder, animal-abuse expose. Which, of course, explains why the URL of the story begins with upscale phrase "EATING DOGS" -- too tabloid-y for the actual headline, but a tasty morsel for the Googlebots. Yay new media!

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