Obama, a puppy, and the press

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

"Did Obama Break a Pledge to Adopt a Rescue Dog?" asks the ABC News headline. The news org's crack staff is all over the the case, digging out a three-word utterance Obama made seven months ago when he suggested the dog his daughters were going to get would be a "a rescue dog." (The Obama's new puppy, Bo, is not a rescue dog.)

But then ABC notes that five months ago, Obama seemed to back off that notion, therefore, "It would seem that the president didn't ever make a 'promise' or 'pledge' to adopt a shelter dog," according to ABC.

End of story? Not quite. ABC reports, "Animal rights activists are chagrined with his decision." But are they? We learn that "Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO Humane Society of the United States, issued a statement congratulating the Obamas for 'taking in a second-chance dog. Bo is a Portuguese water dog who was apparently returned by the family that originally purchased him.' " [Emphasis added.]

Where's the chagrin? ABC claims Pacelle was "was clearly disappointed" (ABC's words, not Pacelle's). Why? Here's the proof. In his statement, Pacelle note that families:

"like the Obamas, who are interested in a particular breed of animal or have special circumstances such as allergies in their household, can turn to their local animal shelter or breed rescue group. About one-quarter of all dogs in shelters are purebreds, many surrendered by their owners like the new First Dog."

Seems that if the Humane Society's CEO were "disappointed" and "chagrined" about the Obama puppy pick, he would make those statements himself and reporters wouldn't have to interpret those conclusions on their own, yes?

In fact, in a Hill article, Pacelle is quoted praising the first family:

"Americans can follow this positive example by visiting their local animal shelter or breed rescue group, and giving another dog or cat a second chance at a loving home."

UPDATE: The AP is also doing due diligence, devoting more than 1,000 words to unraveling the riddle of whether Obama kept his "campaign promise" regarding his new dog. The AP's all excited about "the twists and turns" of the Obama dog, which "make for the kind of intrigue that political junkies" often "delight in."

Behold your press corps at work.

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