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Tag: attack dogs

Call off the “attack dogs”

   What do Joe Biden, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani — to name just a few — have in common?
   They’ve all been called “attack dogs” this week, so often that the phrase — in addition to reinforcing notions of dogs as vicious — has become a fairly major political reporting cliche, if it wasn’t one already
   Then again, to me (and maybe it’s just the attack dog in me) political reporting is about 50 percent cliches anwyay — though, granted, that’s because politics is about 80 percent cliches.

    You’d think the media, often portrayed as an attack dog itself, would better monitor its use of the term:

    NPR: “Biden Plays Second Fiddle (And Attack Dog)”

    Washington Post: “…Romney, a potential running mate for Sen. John McCain who was trying on the attack dog role.” 

    New York Daily News: “Attack-dog Rudy Giuliani takes a bite out of Hillary Clinton’s speech”

    And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I think it’s time for a wake-up call. That dog don’t hunt.

    Cliches are bad enough, but ones that needlessly denigrate the canine reputation are particularly disturbing. At least we can be glad the media is not calling the vice presidential candidates pit bulls.


    Associated Press: “Mitt Romney, a potential John McCain running mate playing Republican pit bull on the periphery of the Democratic National Convention…”

    Daily Kos: (on Biden) “… it should be fun having a real pit bull in the number two position to do some of the necessary dirty work…”

    Huffington Post: “Picking Biden is a solid choice that adds political savvy, national security experience and a pit bull campaigner to Obama’s ticket.”

    Clearly, I have no complaint with comparing politicians to dogs, but I think it should least be done in an informative and entertaining way — not just stereotyping for stereotyping’s sake.