March 13, 2018


Why (Almost) Everyone Likes Jake Tapper: Liberals praise the CNN anchor, but so do conservatives. How did he pull this off in the age of "Fake News"? (GRAHAM VYSE, March 9, 2018, New Republic)

Jake Tapper has found himself--or put himself--in the middle of the gun-control debate in America. After last month's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the CNN anchor moderated a town hall in which parents and survivors vented anger at politicians, police, and the National Rifle Association.

"We're here tonight to facilitate your desire to speak directly to your leaders," he said as the broadcast began. He made a few points--for instance, that Democrats didn't prioritize gun control when they last held Congress and the White House--but mostly hung back, even when the dialogue grew tense. "Normally at a debate or a town hall, I would be quick to say to someone, 'That was rude' or 'We're going to try to keep it civil here,' or 'Let's not have personal attacks,'" he later told Variety. "But in this situation, who am I to tell someone that just lost a daughter or a friend, 'Don't talk that way'?"

Media observers said the town hall was a "stunning" event, unlike any in the history of American TV. Liberals cheered it, too. But conservatives hated it. Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire, called it a "show trial on behalf of full gun bans," and nationally syndicated radio host Joe Walsh described it to me as "a one-sided pep rally against guns."

Days later, Tapper grilled Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. "Just so people watching at home understand," Tapper said, "even after the shooter left the school, there was a period of time where nobody was going into the school--no law enforcement officers. People were bleeding out." He later asked Israel, "Are you really not taking any responsibility for the multiple red flags that were brought to the attention of the Broward sheriff's office about this shooter before the incident?"

Some liberals criticized the interview. But conservatives loved it. Shapiro said it was "deeply necessary and perfectly done"; NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch agreed. The Blaze founder Glenn Beck called Tapper "the number one journalist in the nation." The right praised Tapper again this week after he called out Democrats for not condemning Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who recently gave an anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT speech.

With the asymmetric polarization of American politics, many on the right condemn mainstream news organizations as liberal organs or "Fake News," and they cocoon themselves in a right-wing media ecosystem of Fox News, the Drudge Report, Breitbart, and the like. This includes President Donald Trump, whose favorite show is Fox & Friends and number-one target is CNN. In this era, consensus journalists--those who are respected across America's partisan divide--are not supposed to exist. And yet, Tapper has become perhaps the most widely praised journalist working in TV today.

The Left and the Right have abandoned the field in favor of their niche 20%, so it's easy to speak for America...if you so choose.

Posted by at March 13, 2018 4:33 AM