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.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.
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.
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!