Media critics found the perfect metaphor Wednesday when reporters began filing updates on a specimen of alleged dog excrement that was spotted on a floor at the White House.
On a day that began with a major cable news host joking for several consecutive minutes about euthanizing one of the First Dogs, Major Biden and his brother Champ Biden suffered another very public indignity when Daily Mail Senior U.S. Political Reporter Emily Goodin filed this report for First Lady Jill Biden’s press pool:
As pool gathered to load in the vans on the South Lawn driveway, Champ and Major were spotted in the hallway outside the Palm Room doors in front of the Diplomatic Room. There was dog poo on the floor. It’s unclear which dog was responsible for it.
Champ and Major were on the South Lawn as motorcade waited to depart. Major was on a leash. Champ was not but was moving slowly and stiffly.
A variety of White House reporters spread the word via Twitter, some of whom had jokes.
— Nikki Schwab (@NikkiSchwab) March 31, 2021
Whatever the dogs do, they should not lie to the FBI about this. https://t.co/Uf08mpzTdC
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) March 31, 2021
No direct evidence that it’s dog poop. Could have been one of the staff.
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) March 31, 2021
White House Pool Report Confirms:
— Chanel Rion OAN (@ChanelRion) March 31, 2021
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) March 31, 2021
A few were at least mildly displeased with the attention, including former unofficial Dean of the White House Press Corps Mark Knoller.
Way too many dog poop tweets today.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) March 31, 2021
Is this where we are? Alerting stories about dog poop? What a business.
— John T. Bennett (@BennettJohnT) March 31, 2021
But The Associated Press elevated the story with a full wire service report on the incident entitled “Ruh roh! Biden pooch drops doggie doo in White House hallway,” and which noted, “It was unclear which pooch — Major or Champ — dropped the poo.”
Some political media figures, journalists, and others were amused, while others were most unkind in their assessments of this literal dogshit coverage.
tbh I get angrier about this every time it pops up https://t.co/sRLBMlMF8s
— jess mcintosh (@jess_mc) March 31, 2021
Please stop. https://t.co/95glmZ2ICe
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) March 31, 2021
this tweet should have started with “SCOOP:” https://t.co/EiL7sMnJ6l
— Alexandra Petri (@petridishes) March 31, 2021
The kind of dignified White House coverage we all crave. https://t.co/ZiUEN7CqiB
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) March 31, 2021
whatever happened to reporters verifying the news before reporting it!?!?! how do we know it was one of the dogs? https://t.co/oXwKBJSop8
— Sam Stein (@samstein) March 31, 2021
Hahaha remember when Trump supporters did this at the Capitol https://t.co/aZ3syI4hEM
— Brooke Binkowski (@brooklynmarie) March 31, 2021
I think we can all agree that these good boys are innocent, regardless of whether they pooped on the floor or not https://t.co/Sk5QX4GbVi
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) March 31, 2021
I don’t remember ever reading this much about Bo and Sunny, are y’all ok https://t.co/5AXG93aMqp
— Ofirah Yheskel (@ofirahy) March 31, 2021
Normally, a dog taking a shit on the carpet is not news. https://t.co/3vipTqz07W
— Jeff Schogol (@JeffSchogol) March 31, 2021
is this white house coverage or my nextdoor app https://t.co/7i3TqaqVbL
— Erin Booke (@erinbooke) March 31, 2021
you’re posting cringe AP https://t.co/KQZiUeKpWP
— Sebastian Murdock (@SebastianMurdoc) March 31, 2021
The quintessential illustration of the flaw in the logic *I’m a journalist and I saw it so it must be news.* https://t.co/8g7kS3HJU1
— Conor Friedersdorf (@conor64) March 31, 2021
The AP woke up today and chose chaos https://t.co/DDyWgCEVTV
— Lara Korte (@lara_korte) March 31, 2021
If the “this isn’t news” police liked the dog bite, they’re going to love this: https://t.co/rwAggoDi3Q
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) March 31, 2021
An actual AP headline https://t.co/YcfDsgFlep
— Emily C. Singer (@CahnEmily) March 31, 2021
i can’t find “ruh roh” or “doggie doo” in the ap stylebook https://t.co/WVZapyNo6E
— J Emory Parker 🏳️🌈 Wear Masks | Stay Home (@jaspar) March 31, 2021
And then there was this guy…
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 31, 2021
The demarcation line appears to be between the lighthearted reactions to a tweet about the incident, and heavy criticism of a serious and respected news wire service. This appears to get it about right. As a White House reporter for nine years, I can attest that had I encountered dog crap in the halls of the White House, I would have tweeted about it (and gotten a picture, too) but would not have thought to pitch it to my editors as news. Unless it was during the Trump administration, because they didn’t have a dog.
On the other hand, at least there was no mention of killing either of the dogs, which qualifies as good press for Major these days.
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