cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Watch dogs and lap dogs seem quite different by definition, but I wonder if they are one and the same when used to describe the mainstream media, and which they become simply depends on the party in power at the time?
When we think of a watch dog the image is that of one of the breeds that are larger, look more ferocious and probably bare their teeth and snarl and bark. Lap dogs’ images usually would be that of a smaller, cuddlier dog that rarely barks or snarls and that would be very comfortable sitting in your lap being stroked and pampered.
The mainstream media seems to have two distinct personalities, one that is permissive and supportive of certain political persuasions and the other that is critical and suspicious of other political persuasions. The first elicits the mental image of the lap dog, and the other the image of the watch dog.
You already know where this is headed unless I miss my guess.
When liberals are in power, the media plays the role of the lap dog being all snuggly and cuddly with the politicians who play the leadership roles.
When conservatives are in power, the media turns and becomes the watch dog snarling and barking and showing its teeth against those politicians in leadership roles.
We see this played out more vividly every four years during the campaign cycle, and, true to form, it has been in full feather for the past many months. Romney bad, Obama good is the mantra almost without regard to the story content that may exist. If a particular story is bad news for the conservative, Romney in this case, the mainstream media plays it on the front page for several days trying its best to prolong the news cycle. If, on the other hand, the story is bad for the liberal, Obama in this case, the story gets buried a few pages deep in the hope that it will fall off the radar screen before too many have become aware of it.
Once in a great while, we see something that is seldom present. We saw it recently. The mainstream media felt it had been ‘played’ by the person whose lap it was snuggled in and it began to bark and snarl a little bit. I don’t know if that was simply a symbolic reaction that could still be felt when a sudden attack of ‘journalism’ struck, or if it was genuinely felt because it had been made to look a bit stupid by its master.
That occurrence had to do with Benghazi and the deaths of four Americans. It had to do with the haphazard response of the Administration and the seemingly mixed signals it was sending. It had to do with who knew what when. It had to do with the Secretary of State seemingly taking one for the Administration and then it had to do with the President stepping up to take the hit himself with the famous, or infamous, “the buck stops here” claims made by each.
There is a term we have come to understand, all too well unfortunately. That term is ‘plausible deniability’ and deals with the ability for someone in a situation they wish they were not in finding a way to explain it so as to take the heat off until the event has been conveniently forgotten. Don’t get me wrong; both political parties have used it again and again. This isn’t just a Democrat or a Republican art form, it is a political art form and it is not something we should permit or condone.
The determination of the use of plausible deniability does tend to turn on which party is making use of it based upon whether the lap dog or the attack dog version of the media is on duty at the time.
We are watching as the dog is chasing its own tail trying to get out of its own way as the Benghazi story continues to unfold with new revelations coming at us regularly now. The ‘who knew what and when’ question is now front and center, and the watch dog press is almost forced into action if it is ever to be able to claim impartiality again. Even then, it has the decided tendency to be a bit too cuddly.