We can certainly all agree that the news media can at times be a bit of a wasteland littered with incomplete thoughts and half-baked opinions strongly held. For the sake of one’s sanity it’s usually best to ignore these kinds of things because if we stop to debate everything in the news, we would accomplish absolutely nothing with our lives and be miserable. Today, however, I choose misery. This unrelenting smear campaign against Major Biden, the presidential pooch, must come to an end. I don’t want to make this about race but if it weren’t for the fact that Major was a German Shepherd who is also a rescue would the media be so zeroed in on him? Think about it.
Now if I’m going to call out this journalistic disgrace I must first call into my own house. Earlier this month a blog went up on this website that truly drove me to the brink of resignation. I am of course talking about Ashley Reese’s piece wherein she refers to Major Biden as a (I can’t even type it) “bad dog.” My skin crawls at such language. At first, I said nothing about this doggist blog because Ashley is a superior wordsmith who I’m trying to convince to decorate my apartment and I didn’t want to rock that boat. But another muckraking article about Major has come out and I am moved to speak.
On Wednesday morning, The Guardian published an article with a headline claiming that Major bit a “second person.” However, when you look at the actual content of the article it turns out that Major merely “nipped” at someone whilst on a walk. There is a huge difference between nipping and biting, not only literally but tonally. When one sees a majestically large dog like Major they are often inclined to be fearful because he is so big and fluffy and if he tries to hug you too fast you are going down faster than the Titanic. But this fearful mindset contributes to the kind of fear-mongering perpetuated by The Guardian and my own colleague, who I have no choice but to reveal is a cat person.
What none of these so-called journalists take into account is that Major is under an extreme amount of duress right now. Not only is he representing every German Shepherd in America, he is also representing every dog sitting in a shelter or a foster home waiting to be adopted. He is the bark of a nation. He also had to move to a completely different house with all new smells, new people, and I’ll wager not enough snuggle opportunities. It is natural that he should revert to the behavior of his younger years like nipping to get attention or “charging” at someone he doesn’t recognize to assess whether they are a threat to the life of his parents or not.
How closed-minded of a society have we become that we are unable to let a dog live in peace without judging his every move? I stand by Major Biden and I believe when he says, via an Instagram account run by mystery strangers, that he is completely innocent of these accusations. I will continue to fight for fairness in future coverage about both Major and Champ who deserve a fair shake and ample belly rubs.