Add Jake Tapper, one of our more reliable reporters, to the list of people who have left the reservation – at least for the moment. Back in late October, 2008, John King of CNN gave an interview calling his own media colleagues “out of touch,” lambasting them for media bias in the unfair treatment of Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and John McCain. Tapper goes on the record to make some of the same points here, but clearly we did not need to wait four years to have this answer. From Mediaite:
In an interview on Tuesday with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, ABC News’ White House correspondent Jake Tapper …said that he was concerned that key issues, like the economy, were being ignored in favor of political issues like Mitt Romney’s tax returns. Tapper said that he hopes the media does not unfairly cover this election and favor one candidate over another, as he says the institution did in 2008.
Listen to the entire Ingraham/Tapper interview here:
Tapper pointed out that regarding the economy, that “People are hurting out there. I’d like to see more action taken and more emphasis given to this issue.” He goes on to offer up the money line, which he is clearly hesitant to say:
“I have said before… [that I] thought the media helped tip the scales. I didn’t think the coverage in 2008 was especially fair to either Hillary Clinton or John McCain,” said Tapper. “Sometimes I saw with story selection, magazine covers, photos picked, [the] campaign narratives, that it wasn’t always the fairest coverage…and I hope that doesn’t happen again.”
But it is happening and it will continue to happen until we shed lots of sunlight on this issue. To this day, the media is still far more preoccupied with Hillary Clinton’s hairdo, make-up or the lack of it, her wardrobe, ass size and age. Otherwise, we might have to dwell on something significant — like a world event or an accomplishment. Likewise, in the current Presidential contest, the media seems far more preoccupied with finger pointing than pressing for answers about concrete policy proposals — and sharing them. Is this the way we want the debate to play out?
Ms. Ingraham also plays Mark Halperin’s sound bite that the “media basically does whatever the president wants.” Clearly, President Obama is not the first to enjoy Presidential media cover. President Bush got lots of it.
In all cases, we deserve better. Both sides need to be grilled – but good. Regarding Tapper’s statements that any politician will “take wiggle room” if you give it to them, no politician should be allowed to skirt the issues when so many are losing jobs and homes.
It must be the tanking ratings of major news outlets that is forcing the likes of Wolf Blitzer, Norah O’Donnell, Tapper, King, Campbell Brown et al to finally notice what we have been complaining about for years.
I encourage you to listen to the entire interview. Mr. Tapper is currently writing a book on Afghanistan. He and Ingraham discuss the horrifying situation there regarding our troop draw down and the behavior of Afghan security forces, some of whom are murdering American troops. Why are we not talking about this?
It is about 70 days to the election. Are we going to focus squarely on the economy, health care and foreign policy – rather than the latest flying squirrel designed to distract and demagogue?
What’s it to be, mainstream media? I won’t hold my breath.
Anita Finlay is the author of Dirty Words on Clean Skin: Sexism and Sabotage, a Hillary Supporter’s Rude Awakening, available on Amazon in print and Kindle editions. Also available at Barnes&Noble.com.
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