Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Shame on Jake Tapper

A few months ago, Chuck Todd finally found a reason to be embarrassed by the "game" in Washington. As I pointed out at the time, he didn't get there because of birth certificates, or death panels, or accusations that a presidential candidate "palled around with terrorists." No. What finally pushed Todd over the edge was that Democrats were reacting to Republican talk about impeachment.

But now Jake Tapper has one-upped Todd by going beyond embarrassment to being "ashamed" of the fact that the top American leadership was absent from the rally in Paris. I could not craft a response any more on point than what Paul Waldman wrote in response.
Maybe my memory's faulty, but I don't recall any other journalist committed to the ideal of "objectivity" saying he was "ashamed" about the fact that millions of Americans have no health coverage, or about the 30,000 Americans killed by guns every year, or about our ample contributions to global warming...But you can say you're ashamed about something entirely symbolic—and in the long run essentially meaningless—like the fact that the American ambassador attended a march when it would have a bigger deal had the Secretary of State or the Vice President been there.

That isn't to say that symbolism is unimportant. Much of politics is about the creation and dissemination of symbols. But what exactly is the damage that has been done by the fact that a (supposedly) insufficiently high-ranking American official represented our government at this event? Will the peoples of the world no longer believe that America is an advocate for freedom of speech, or that Americans abhor terrorism? I doubt it.
What people like Todd and Tapper don't seem to get is that this is exactly why so many Americans are dismissive of the media and cynical about politics. They live in a world that is all about "the game" of politics, symbolism, identifying who "won" a particular battle, and covering the horse race. As a result, their emotional reactions are all tied up in how those things play out.

But most Americans don't really give a shit about all that. They want to know how the government is protecting us from a similar kind of terrorist attack, or what its doing that could affect our health care, or jobs, or our children's education. These journalists don't seem to think that kind of reporting is their job anymore. Shame on them!

8 comments:

  1. Seriously? We still care what Jake Tapper and Chuck Todd say about anything? Ever? They're buffoons. They report on a microcosm that nobody cares about except the inhabitants of their tiny bubble.

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    1. Please don't miss that these two guys are representatives of how journalism sees its job these days. And BTW, a whole lot of people "listen" to them.

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    2. Did I miss something: "But most Americans don't really give a shit about all that." ? I really question whether the average person even knows who either of them is, or accepts either of them as authorities on anything of value in their lives.

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    3. The "average person" may not know Tapper by name. But plenty still watch CNN - unfortunately. CNN was STILL talking about the President not going yesterday. The media controls the conversation. But I'm sure you know that. I think the reason President Obama said it was a "blunder" for him not to go was to shut the stupidass media up. BTW, CNN and all the rest were crapping their pants over this. I think Nancy is spot on with her critique.

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    4. CNN, for all of it's many, easily documented faults, is the leader for the news media in America. Where they go, everyone else feels compelled to follow because CNN will cover what media customers are likely to buy.

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  2. "I think the reason President Obama said it was a "blunder" for him not to go was to shut the stupidass media up." President Obama said it was a "blunder" for him not to go? I don't remember reading about this?

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    1. I heard wrong. Here's the exact quote:

      "I think it's fair to say that we should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday afternoon.

      He said Obama himself would have liked to attend the march "had the circumstances been a little different." But planning began Friday night, 36 hours before the event began, and there wasn't enough time for the "onerous and significant" security work that needed to take place ahead of a presidential visit, Earnest said. He said Obama's presence also would have meant extra restrictions on the people who were there.

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  3. Thanks Nancy. The entire media [left, right, & center] is pretty pathetic & useless at this point in time.

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