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Henrietta Post
  • Online Only: 'Dog Wars' is newest campaign theme

  • It is one thing to cry wolf. However, crying dog may be taking it one step too far. The impact of today’s 24-hour media cycle where social media, cable news, radio and constantly updated newspaper websites all battle for news consumer eyeballs is not serving to better inform voters and it will not improve voter apathy.

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  • It is one thing to cry wolf.
    However, crying dog may be taking it one step too far. The impact of today’s 24-hour media cycle where social media, cable news, radio and constantly updated newspaper websites all battle for news consumer eyeballs is not serving to better inform voters and it will not improve voter apathy.
    In fact, I can’t imagine anyone watching these circuses go from town to town and having any interest in voting for anyone.
    The latest incarnation of overblown outrage comes to us in the Dog Wars. That’s not an Animal Planet television show for the spring, that’s the newest theme in the 2012 presidential election coverage.
    It turns out that both men leading their party in search of holding the title of leader of the free world have not been very good friends to man’s best friend.
    About 25 years ago, Mitt Romney and his family strapped an Irish Setter to the top of their car in a pet carrier for a 12-hour ride to Canada. Ann Romney, Mitt’s wife and unofficial campaign spokesperson (according to some liberal commentators, it would be the first time she ever worked) said the dog even got “the runs” during the trip but her husband calmly hosed off the dog and the family continued on to Canada.
    Obviously, if Romney can handle doggy diarrhea, he can handle problems with Pakistan and Palestine. Romney would just hose them off and stay on course. Realizing that puppy transport is one of the main issue facing our nation, the Democrats and liberal media types seized on the story and made a mountain out of a mutt cage.
    The Republicans and their media mavens knew they needed an answer and they needed it fast.
    They combed through President Barack Obama’s past hoping – maybe even praying – to find a time where Obama hung his dog Bo under his helicopter or maybe had the Secret Service hook Bo up with a Columbian “mutt for money” during an official state visit.
    And then they found it. Like a ray of sunshine after a devastating storm, they found their answer.
    In his book, "Dreams of My Father," Obama told of eating such fare as snake, grasshopper and – you guessed it – dog during his stay in Indonesia.
    He must have viewed the Romney’s traveling with a dog on top of their car like I do the Domino’s pizza delivery driver – just another way to get dinner to the table.
    This isn’t just fodder for hateful apologists on Twitter trying to come up with Obama dog recipes or liberal media members wondering whether Romney would strap America’s middle class to the top of his Rolls Royce.
    Page 2 of 2 - The two campaigns have engaged in the Dog Wars.
    This is why Americans don’t care. They aren’t stupid.
    Voters see through these trumped-up travesties. They know campaigns are arguing about trivia because their policy positions are almost identical.
    When your platform is pandering, it is hard to stray too hard from the centerline. There are only about five issues where the candidates even disagree.
    It is hard to fill 24 hours a day for more than a year discussing those minor discrepancies.
    So you get the Dog Wars.
    I don’t know if it was in response to his admission of canine consumption or merely and ill-timed tweet, but Obama’s official Twitter feed held this nugget Wednesday morning, “Tomorrow is Bo’s third anniversary as First Dog. Help celebrate by picking your favorite photo on Pet Lovers for Obama.”
    What will these candidates do to shock and horrify us tomorrow?
    As long as consumers stay tuned the news cycle will continue to turn out this type of material. Just like customers complaining about “pink sludge” being passed off as ground beef, until someone threatens the revenue stream, nothing is going to change.
    News consumers are going to have to start demanding serious coverage of serious issues or the devolution of political discussion will continue.
    Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta, Kan., Gazette.
     
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