Here is something you don’t see every day, but I was just reminded about this while talking to DougJ about Jonathon Martin’s appearance on Hardball. The other day, there was kind of a pile-on about Tapper regarding his emails with the Sanford clan in South Carolina. In question was this snippet from a story in the State (that I linked to when discussing the Red State self-policing fail):
The media e-mails also illuminate the tactics of national outlets to land the big interview.
ABC News White House reporter Jake Tapper e-mailed Sawyer twice on June 23, both to note coverage of competitor NBC.
With a subject line of “NBC spot was slimy,” Tapper e-mailed Sawyer a “Today” show transcript of Sanford coverage, calling it “insulting.” Later, Tapper forwarded Sawyer a Twitter post by “Meet The Press” host David Gregory.
Jeff Schneider, a vice president at ABC News, said Tapper was “carrying some water for producers who knew he had a relationship with the governor’s office.”
I’m too lazy to look up all the links, but Tapper got slammed all over the place for this, and it was used to claim he was a “tool of the right wing.” I really think he got screwed by these accusations, and they just strike me as missing the mark.
What Tapper was doing was not “carrying water” for the Governor and the GOP. What he was quite clearly doing was attempting to ingratiate himself to the folks in the Sanford operation at the expense of David Gregory, with the hopes that they would somehow open up to Tapper at ABC instead of the folks at NBC. You may not understand this, especially when we consider how silly the media coverage of everything is, but it is a very competitive business regardless, and they do what they have to do to get the inside connection. I’d be willing to bet they all shit talk each other behind their backs to sources- Jake just got caught this time.
As proof of my thesis, Tapper apologized… to David Gregory. In fact, his response was “busted.” To translate, “busted” wasn’t Tapper saying “I’m sorry I got caught using steroids and I have disgraced the game and I hope my fans and friends can forgive me,” it was “Yeah. You caught me holding Gregory’s jersey on that last play. It’s all in the game, yo.” I’d bet anything Gregory didn’t even flinch, but is sure looking for his chance to put the knife in when he can.
I’m not one to go out of my way to defend these guys in the mainstream media, but I think Tapper got a bad rap on this one. If anyone can point to any piece by him that could be construed as “carrying water” for the GOP in the Sanford case, I’ll amend my statement, but right now all Tapper was guilty of was playing the game, trying to squeeze a scoop out of a source at the expense of David Gregory.