The BBC News website's Politics Page contains an article called 'Under fire', and the sub-heading 'Brussels sniping tests Lady Ashton's EU diplomatic skill'. The word sniping implies malice and underhand behaviour. (To snipe is 'to attack a person's work with petulant or snide criticism, esp. anonymously or from a safe distance.'). The BBC sub-heading thus casts an aspersion on Lady Ashton's many critics - an aspersion which, if you read the article proper, is completely unwarranted. Her critics are very open and very serious:
The baroness was interviewed on this morning's Today by man of the moment James Naughtie. I can do no better here than quote DB's spot-on headline on the Biased BBC blogsite: 'Naughtie: Can I Plump Your Pillows, Lady Ashton?' http://biased-bbc.blogspot.com/2010/03/naughtie-can-i-plump-your-pillows-lady.html No interruptions and no challenges, and this obsequious question: "You're a hundred days into the new job now. I mean, this is the kind of long term work that you have to do. Do you feel at all drained by some of the arguments that have been erupting in Europe about the settlement after the Lisbon Treaty was ratified and the way the appointments were made and so on?" DB dryly comments, "What touching concern for her "long term work" and the wearisome distractions she has had to endure, the poor never-elected thing." Indeed!