This article was first published on Aug. 18, 2011
The idea that a Pacifica woman, who medical experts say was mauled and killed by her pet pit bull, instead fell off of a ladder and was being nudged by the dog when her husband discovered her dead, comes from a public relations company's subsidiary, not a news agency.
The Clarity Media Group, a public relations firm that specializes in teaching companies to make the media believe what they want it to believe, owns the Anschutz Co., which was initially involved in the oil and gas business before it acquired Examiner.com. The article asserting 32-year-old Darla Napora fell from a ladder and died of a fractured skull originated on Examiner.com.
Clarity Media Group tells potential corporate clients on its website it will focus on "crafting" sound bites they believe journalists will inevitably use.
"First, through media training, we will help you discover and hone your own messages so they resound with clarity and conviction," Clarity’s website reads. "To make them unforgettable, we will craft them into quotes and sound bites journalists will not be able to resist."
The author of the Examiner.com article, Cindy Marabito, from Austin, TX, is a pit bull advocate who wrote a book that is, according to her own account, "a tell all book about rescuing pit bulls from death row for over twelve years." Marabito wrote the following: "According to residents of the Napora neighborhood, the dog did not maul Darla Napora, 'just found out that the woman fell off a ladder and hit her head... .'"
This quote has not been validated nor confirmed by authorities investigating the incident or any news agency covering the tragedy. The neighbor who said it has never been identified.
When reached, a spokeswoman for Examiner.com said any issues with its content, including those pertaining to accuracy, should be taken up with the author of the article in question.
Based on preliminary autopsy results, the San Mateo County Coroner said Darla Napora died of blood loss coupled with shock from dog bites and there was no blunt force trauma on her body (which would have been found had she fallen from a ladder).