But the kind of tone-deafness so prominently on display in yesterday’s cable coverage is precisely what many people resent about cable news (not to mention the media more generally): its tendency to inject melodrama into even the most banal and undramatic of stories. Its impulse to dress things up in sequins and boas and pancake makeup rather than simply present them, to the extent possible, as they are. Waxing rhetorical about The Cultural Significance of Bo the Dog, in this case, isn’t merely absurd; it verges on intellectual dishonesty. It suggests an attempt to fool audiences into thinking they’re watching Substantial Commentary, when in fact what they’re watching is the same kind of body-language-expert-focused, banter-happy drivel they’re so used to seeing on cable news.

By all means, report on Bo’s debut; but report on it. There’s no need to gild the puppy. Good grief.

Ends today: If you'd like to help CJR and win a chance at one of
10 free print subscriptions, take a brief survey for us here.

Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.