The nation's "chief Republican attack dog,'' who is also a "bombastic'' man, was in our office the other day. If we hadn't read the press clippings before he arrived, we never would have known.
U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa was in New Hampshire to speak to a Republican fundraiser in Concord and address the N.H. Political Institute at St. Anselm College the next morning. Before departing for Boston in a near-blizzard, the Californian stopped by the Union Leader.
We found Rep. Issa to be thoughtful and candid. He thinks the National Security Agency needs more checks and balances built into it, although he isn't sure how that is to be done. He thinks the Patriot Act, for which he voted, went overboard.
He spoke of wanting to get to the "top'' of the Benghazi affair, rather than the "bottom.''
And he just shakes his head at examples of government waste, galore.
He seemed a pretty reasonable, knowledgeable fellow.
But in a supposed news story about his trip here, the Associated Press lead framed him as that "chief Republican attack dog.''
The lesser known National Journal weighed in with a lead that Issa was "bombastic.''
Issa is used to all this. He said he doesn't mind what the press calls him. But the public should mind. The news media's use of words is a powerful tool to frame issues, groups and individuals. Using terms like "attack dog'' in supposedly straight news coverage used to be considered slanted and opinionated. What is it now?