Careerist sociopaths

I’ve been taking in a lot of right-wing media the last few days because I was curious to see how the wingers would defend the death threats and so on that some on the right have been making against Democratic Congressmen. So I had Laura Ingraham on the radio this morning as I drove to work.

She was ranting and raving about how the threats weren’t really happening and if they did happen, they didn’t come from the right, and if they were happening and they did come from the right, then they weren’t as bad as ACORN or the guy who threw the shoe at George W. Bush. She had a guest named Jake, who seemed a little more reasonable than her but who didn’t dispute anything she said and said things like “Well, I’m sure you’ve received threats too.”

When Ingraham suggested that Hoyer scheduled the news conference to discuss the threats in order to score political points, she asked Jake what he thought, and he said “I only report the facts, but I do have an opinion”, suggesting he agreed with Ingram but couldn’t say so explicitly (you probably have to listen to the tape to see what I mean about this).

Turns out it was Jake Tapper.

I doubt Tapper is that much of a right-winger, but he knows which side his bread is buttered on. He knows that national tv news is a dying medium and that he may have to jump on the Murdoch crazy train at some point in order to pay the bills. In short, he’s a careerist sociopath, ready to dance on the graves of Congressmen if it means he can keep a Fox gig lined up down the road.

Update. One thing in particular that Ingraham said, and which Tapper didn’t dispute was (I’m paraphrasing) “if you defy the will of the people, you have to expect that a few weird malcontents will come after you.”

Update update. I will try to post audio of this time so you can make up your own mind about the segment.

140 replies
  1. 1
    D.N. Nation says:

    That’s Glenn Greenwald-endorsed Jake Tapper, mind you.

    We are all Mayans, etc.

  2. 2
    LarsThorwald says:

    Jake Tapper also wears make-up while flying commercial. it’s absolutely true. He wears foundation. While not on camera.

    He is the worst sort of human being. He’s a performer who pretends to be serious.

  3. 3
    Fergus Wooster says:

    Takes me back to Taibbi’s masterpiece in 2003, when he envisioned Wolf Blitzer and the WH press corps loaded into bread trucks at night and hauled away to the gulag.

    Tapper has long since earned himself a space in the truck. . . I mean seriously, he can’t even condemn death threats? And he’ll wash his hands when one of these nuts actually kills someone.

  4. 4
    Zifnab says:

    In short, he’s a careerist sociopath, ready to dance on the graves of Congressmen if it means he can keep a Fox gig lined up down the road.

    It’s absurd, because there’s really only so much room on the Murdoch boat. MSNBC figured out what the hell was going on and started slanting left, rather than going to the old FOX News well. I just don’t understand what these wingers think they’re going to get clustered up like lemmings on the edge of the cliff like this.

    What the hell is Tapper even doing guesting on Laura Ingram’s show? Doesn’t he have a god damn day job?

  5. 5
    r€nato says:

    I’ve been saying they’ll claim that anybody who did these things was really a liberal plant trying to make teabaggers look bad.

    I was joking. OK, half-joking, half-serious but it seems you really cannot parody these people. I wonder what they’d come up with if Republicans were caught in a child-fucking scandal like Catholic priests.

  6. 6
    Menzies says:

    @renato:

    They certainly came close – when’s the last time you heard Democrats bring up Mark Foley?

  7. 7
    SGEW says:

    Once again, Doug, I would like to lodge my protest over the misuse of the term “sociopath” for . . .

    (reads post)

    Oh. Ok. Jake Tapper, maybe. I’ll give you this one.

  8. 8
    r€nato says:

    I’d like to know if Obamacare will require insurers to cover deprogramming from right-wing-media-induced brainwashing.

    If it doesn’t, it should.

  9. 9
    demo woman says:

    On The View Elisabeth Hasslebeck agreed with Joy Behar that Sarah Palin was wrong. She felt that Palin was inciting the base.

  10. 10
    cleek says:

    of course they’re going to deny it and pretend it’s all a setup; someone like Ingrahm can’t admit she’s wrong to an audience who’s dumb enough to think she’s smart – they’d start throwing bricks through her window.

  11. 11
    bobbo says:

    Wow. I knew Tapper was bad, but I am still surprised by this. Guess I shouldn’t be.

  12. 12
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @D.N. Nation

    That’s Glenn Greenwald-endorsed Jake Tapper, mind you.

    Beat me to it. I couldn’t fucking believe that Greenwald gave the stamp of approval to that asshat.

  13. 13
    demo woman says:

    if you defy the will of the people, you have to expect that a few weird malcontents will come after you.”
    I’m sorry that I made you beat me, I’ll be better next time.

  14. 14
    El Cid says:

    @D.N. Nation: When and how did Glenn Greenwald endorse Jake Tapper? And was it a universal endorsement, or for specific reporting? I Googled around a bit, but didn’t find it.

  15. 15
    Short Bus Bully says:

    This is all such fucking bullshit.

    The guy who threw his shoe at Shrub? Are you fucking kidding me? These brick throwing pyschos are a gnat’s eye away from blowing up buildings and these wingers want to debate semantics all while Glenn Beck’s apocolypse ads are playing in the background?

    When the hippies protested W.’s wars and shitty policies the only thing they got from lawmakers was the boots of the cops breaking up their non-violent protests with batons, gas, and handcuffs.

    NOT. AT. ALL. COMPARABLE.

  16. 16
    beltane says:

    I hope to live long enough to once, just once, see a few of these people held accountable for their behavior. Those like Tapper, who go with the extremist flow for career purposes, anger more than the genuine mouth breathers who know not what they do.

  17. 17
    DougJ says:

    This doesn’t mean Tapper is a bad reporter all the time. Not at all.

  18. 18
    El Cid says:

    Was the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoe at George W. Bush an ACORN / SEIU thug plant?

  19. 19
    MTiffany says:

    “if you defy the will of the people, you have to expect that a few weird malcontents will come after you.”

    Notice that it’s always the weird malcontents themselves who seem to think that their will and the will of the people are one and the same?

    @DougJ: Yeah, not all the time — just when he’s talking or writing. (Sorry, I hate Bullshitico and the turds employed there)

  20. 20
    aimai says:

    If your base is made up of crazy extremists then its always going to be the fault of the other guy that they got riled up. Always. I guess what I’m saying is you go to politics with the crazy base you’ve got, not the crazy base you’d like to have. I think that’s what Ingraham means. If they had rocket scientists and geniuses, great political leaders and thoughtful, moral types on their side they’d definitely use them. But they don’t.

    aimai

  21. 21
    Matt says:

    Really? Tapper’s been making #SECporn jokes on Twitter all morning, too. What a maroon.

  22. 22
    beltane says:

    @Short Bus Bully: Remember the tasers and tear gas of the 2008 Republican convention? Citizens who were merely suspected of thinking about taking part in the protests were arrested and their homes raided.

  23. 23
    Stroszek says:

    Tapper is a rather ridiculous prick, even by beltway standards. He got his break in journalism because he dated Monica Lewinsky and was willing to dish about it.

  24. 24
    wenchacha says:

    Tapper is a big-time tool. He has been for a long time. I haven’t read much of anything of his since Obama that has been approaching reasonable or smart.

    You would think that maybe one or two of the Heathers In Training would dare to go against the “conventional wisdom.” Tapper is not going to.

  25. 25
    beltane says:

    @El Cid: George Soros paid him to throw that shoe.

  26. 26
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @aimai:

    If they had rocket scientists and geniuses, great political leaders and thoughtful, moral types on their side they’d definitely use them.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think you are correct. If they had those people, they would mock them and drive them out of the party.

  27. 27
    Bulworth says:

    Jake Tapper, as in the Jake Tapper that Wash Post Entertainment writer Tom Shales suggested as a superior “This Week” host to Christiane Amanpour?

  28. 28
    flukebucket says:

    @demo woman:

    On The View Elisabeth Hasslebeck agreed with Joy Behar that Sarah Palin was wrong. She felt that Palin was inciting the base.

    Holy shit. That is huge. Elisabeth Hasslebeck represents one thick ass cloud of fog to try and break through.

    And you know, admitting that those people are your base has to be humiliating.

  29. 29
    D.N. Nation says:

    @El Cid:

    On his Twitter. Complimented Dat Ass Tapper for his bravery in attacking both sides, or whatever.

  30. 30
    Face says:

    Tapper’s in the crapper

  31. 31
    David says:

    Foxnews is now playing the “Republicans are being threatened too!” game.

  32. 32
    WereBear says:

    @flukebucket: Which is why they deny it so much, and so often.

  33. 33
    Punchy says:

    Tapper is a rather ridiculous prick, even by beltway standards. He got his break in journalism because he dated Monica Lewinsky and was willing to dish about it.

    Before or after the cigar?

  34. 34
    demo woman says:

    @flukebucket: McCain could certainly take a few pointers from her since he justified Sarah’s behavior.

  35. 35
    Josie says:

    Bulworth – You beat me to the punch. This interview exposes Tapper (in case anyone had missed the info previously) as a “pro” and Shales as his pimp.

  36. 36
    beltane says:

    As to your update, Doug, would Ingraham have said this regarding the Bush v. Gore decision. In that case, unlike HCR, there was a clear thwarting of the will of the people. After all, Bush was put into office by an unelected court after receiving a minority of the popular vote. Would she have approved of a campaign of terror being waged against Republican politicians?

    I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing the teabaggers could do that would draw the condemnation of the right-leaning punditry. They are sending the clear message that my life and my opinion are worth nothing in comparison to that of the wingnut down the road.

  37. 37
    catclub says:

    “of course they’re going to deny it and pretend it’s all a setup; someone like Ingrahm can’t admit she’s wrong to an audience who’s dumb enough to think she’s smart – they’d start throwing bricks through her window.”

    I no longer remember whether I predicted, or some more intelligent BJ poster, that Glenn Beck would be killed by some fan if he confessed it was all just a show to get the rube’s eyes and money.

  38. 38
    Little Dreamer says:

    His wife was (perhaps still is?) a Planned Parenthood field manager in D.C.? That’s a pretty big monkey on his back if he moves over to right wing media, isn’t it?

  39. 39
    gravie says:

    I’ve been saying they’ll claim that anybody who did these things was really a liberal plant trying to make teabaggers look bad.

    That’s exactly what a very nice friend of mine said on a post to another friend’s FB page. The other friend was lamenting the horrible behavior of the right wing. It convinced me that no matter how much evidence you put in front of people they will never believe it if they don’t want to.

  40. 40
    r€nato says:

    @beltane:

    Would she have approved of a campaign of terror being waged against Republican politicians?

    No.

    This has been another edition of SATSQ.

  41. 41
    Cervantes says:

    @Punchy: Dated her before, dished about it after.

  42. 42
    Stroszek says:

    @Punchy: Before.

  43. 43
    beltane says:

    @gravie: They sound exactly like Muslim extremists who claimed that 9/11 was a CIA/Mossad plot because Muslims weren’t organized enough to pull off such a thing.

    The 27%ers are the same the world over.

  44. 44
    Jamey says:

    r€nato

    Who’s up for bombing the Reichstag!? Anybody?

  45. 45
    Nellcote says:

    Jake’s just bitter that he didn’t get the Sunday gig.

  46. 46
    Jake Tapper says:

    This is not what happened.

    I’m working on getting the audio so we can clear up what Doug wrote above, but I condemned death threats unequivocally.

    I mentioned that Laura surely got them as well as a way of saying this kind of thing shouldn’t happen.

    She said sure, but she doesn’t hold a press conference and whine about it.

    I said the Members of Congress who received death threats didn’t hold a press conference to announce the threats, Majority Leader Hoyer mentioned them in a press conference. She asked me my opinion as to what his motives were, I said I’m paid to suppress my opinions, my job is to report facts.

    That was it. I’m taken aback at this post, it so doesn’t reflect what was said.

    I can’t even begin to address the remarks in the comments.

    From time to time, ABC News PR asks correspondents to go on radio shows — most of the hosts have opinions, whether Bill Press on the left (on which I’m appearing tomorrow) or Laura Ingraham on the right. I can see why some people don’t think that’s appropriate, because it can unfairly make it seem as if guests hold the opinions of the hosts, and maybe that’s what happened here. Something for me to think about.

    hope you’re all well —
    Jake

  47. 47
    Cain says:

    Jake,

    An audio would be appreciated. But you can well imagine we are all concerned about right wing attacks on representatives and the lack of condemnation from the republicans. Conservatives seem to apply the philosophy of “personal responsibility” only to others and they should be called on it. Those are the facts.

    As for the comments, they are just reflection of that frustration. You haven’t exactly been on the side of angels. But I appreciate you coming and posting a response on BJ.

    cain

  48. 48
    Jake Tapper says:

    I think threats are reprehensible. I can certainly understand why anyone would be upset about them. I didn’t condone them and what Doug read into my comments is not accurate.

    I would also note that comment #43 above includes a threat to my family.

  49. 49
    El Cid says:

    @D.N. Nation: Well, I have to admit that I don’t know how to quickly look up such past comments on twitter. I do know that from time to time I myself have agreed with the most evil of right wing shit-bags if they happened to finally say something through, and it wasn’t an endorsement.

  50. 50
    jron says:

    it can unfairly make it seem as if guests hold the opinions of the hosts, and maybe that’s what happened here

    It can, and it does. ABC’s policy of not allowing opinion commentary from its reporters like yourself, but then expecting you to go on shows like Ingraham’s that exist solely to promote one opinion, makes no sense whatsoever.

    I think a lot of us are especially frustrated by what we see as a false balance of the “dems did it too,” which is not being challenged by many. This is serious stuff and needs to be called out. Your appearance on Ingraham’s show plays right into that, especially since it’s not really clear how much you agree with her and how much you’re holding your tongue because ABC might think you’re opinionating.

  51. 51
    DMD says:

    @r€nato: They’d say it was Presbyterian infiltrators who went after little boys.

  52. 52
    keestadoll says:

    Any verification that “Jake Tapper” is in fact Jake Tapper or are we just having some role playing fun here?

  53. 53
    patroclus says:

    It’s interesting that Jake himself shows up here and (1) does not condemn death threats in his post but merely claims he did in the radio interview; (2) does not condemn other forms of violence, such as rocks being thrown through windows or cutting gas lines; (3) does not cite any specific death threat (or other form of violence) against Ms. Ingraham but just makes up “facts” regarding her.

    Agreeing with (or specifically declining to disagree) with a right-wing host, who lies repeatedly, is not a particularly good way to build up credibility. Does Jake Tapper really condemn all forms of political violence?? Does Jake Tapper really approve of Kristallnacht-incitement in America??

    Jake Tapper supposedly believes in transparency – I’d like to see if he will specifically denounce all forms of Republican-incited violence or just death threats?

  54. 54
    jron says:

    @keestadoll: it’s not unusual on this blog for people being discussed to pop up in the comments. if he’d said anything outrageous I might have questioned it, but who knows.

  55. 55
    Fergus Wooster says:

    @Jake Tapper: Jake,

    I do appreciate that you’re addressing this. Please do excuse the vitriol (mine included) – there is a lot of venting around here, and not always in the politest of terms. This is a forum, after all, that discusses skull-f***ing kittens (however gently). And the media narrative forming around these escalating threats really has a lot of people’s blood up.

    Thank you for taking these concerns seriously – and please take particular note of jron’s observation at 51.

    Just kidding about the bread-truck, by the way.

  56. 56
    Jake Tapper says:

    OK, Patroclus:

    One would think this goes without saying, but:

    1) I condemn death threats;
    2) I condemn other forms of violence such as rocks being thrown through windows or cutting gas lines;
    3) I only said that to Laura because I myself have had threats directed at me or my family (see comment #43 above for one small example) and I was trying to underline to her that it’s not funny;
    4) I condemn all forms of political violence.

    But I have to tell you — I’m not going to indulge the Kristallnacht metaphor. I think using Nazi/Holocaust comparisons are shallow and does a disservice to history.

    Jake

  57. 57
    Dork says:

    my job is to report facts

    Somebody owes me a new keyboard.

  58. 58
    Josie says:

    Just curious, Jake – Do you also condemn hatchet jobs on good reporters, such as the one Mr. Shales did on Christiane Amanpour?

  59. 59
    Jake Tapper says:

    Jron and Fergus —

    Usually what happens in these radio interviews is the host asks me about the reporting I’ve done. But, like I said, I understand the concern.

    – Jake

  60. 60
    Joey Maloney says:

    @Jake Tapper:

    The “/Fat Tony” that ends the comment #43 means that it’s being spoken (satirically of course) in the voice of Antonin “Fat Tony” Scalia, and is not meant to be taken literally.

    Apparently you are not aware of all internet traditions.

  61. 61
    Punchy says:

    see comment #43 above for one small example

    Mr. Tapper is clearly not abreast of all the internet traditions. FYI– the “/” preface to any comment is a sure-fire indicator of snark, and is most certainly not to be taken as an actual thought.

    Yikes. DC scribes really dont read the blogz, do they?

    E: goddammit, scooped again by Fat Joey. /slams fist

  62. 62
    Jake Tapper says:

    Joey —

    I wasn’t aware of that, thanks for clearing it up.

    It’s still not funny.

    – Jake

  63. 63
    elmo says:

    @patroclus:

    Patroclus, that isn’t fair. The post called Tapper out for not strongly condemning the threats on Ingraham’s show. So Tapper came here and said Hold on, the audio would show that I did condemn them.

    Tapper was responding to a specific point. You’re now calling him out because he didn’t then expand on the point on his own initiative, condemning the threats and condemning the other acts of violence and intimidation.

    Well, I can play that game too. You didn’t condemn the intimidation in your post, did you? For that matter, you didn’t condemn lots of other things either, like child abuse, puppy mills, nuclear winter, and the heartbreak of psoriasis. Hmmmm. Do you really disagree with those things? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

    Give the man a break. He gets called out on a specific issue, he responds on that issue. Don’t clutch your pearls in horror that he didn’t write a treatise on the entire subject.

  64. 64
    Jake Tapper says:

    Punchy –

    I read blogs all the time, though, no, I wasn’t aware of that.

    Again: still not funny. Especially in a thread where people are expressing legitimate outrage at threats being made to Members of Congress.

    (See Comment #57 for conedmnation of said threats.)

    – Jake

  65. 65
    patroclus says:

    Thanks Jake – you should have done that in the radio interview. No, with right-wingers these days, it most certainly does NOT go without saying. As is clear, they have morphed into a violence-inciting party that does not care about the consequences of hyperbolic rhetorical overkill. If the media does not denounce this form of political violence, then they need to be held just as accountable as the inciters and the perpetrators. You had your chance whilst talking with a lying, smearing Republican in a public forum and you blew it. You only partially make up for it by doing it here (on a much-less-read blog).

    Given your now-demonstrable hesitancy to condemn violence, we’ll be watching your future efforts at civil discourse.

  66. 66
    demo woman says:

    Thank you for taking the time to address this issue.

  67. 67
    Joey Maloney says:

    @Punchy: Jinx, you owe me a Coke. Passover formula, please, made with cane sugar not HFCS.

  68. 68
    Jake Tapper says:

    Patroclus —

    I did do it in the radio interview, as I said.

    – Jake

  69. 69
    Dracula says:

    Ok, am I going to have to be the one to ask how the donuts with sprinkles taste in D.C.?

  70. 70
    JenJen says:

    @Jake Tapper: Thanks very much for responding, because the intent most certainly wasn’t clear. Your response goes a long way toward clearing that up, I think.

  71. 71
    patroclus says:

    No, Jake, you said you condemned “death threats” in the interview (which you haven’t provided as yet so no one can verify it). You most certainly did NOT say that you condemned other forms of violence (that have actually occurred) either in the interview or here (until prompted).

    I will now await the audio of the interview to see if you did in fact condemn all forms of political violence in the interview. I highly doubt it; your sophistry notwithstanding.

  72. 72
    Cain says:

    Jake,

    Buying a Tunch coffee mug will go a long way with this crowd. :)

    cain

  73. 73
    Face says:

    This is the kind of shit that happens when we pull DougJ off Politico for a month. He stumbles upon The Hawt Laura and then runs into more trouble.

    Lets get him back on his regular diet before he finds Michael Weiner’s show and goes nuculear.

  74. 74
    cleek says:

    good on ya for daring to make your case in comments, Mr Tapper.

    i can’t say i look forward to your upcoming piece where you equate rude comments with actual political violence, however. (just guessing, of course. i’ve been known to be wrong – ask my wife)

  75. 75
    jron says:

    @Jake Tapper: Not knowing your opinions, I can imagine that could be a tough needle to thread, in blog posts or in opinion radio. would be for me.

    In the case of a host like Ingraham, it’s hard to imagine that she would ask you a question that she expected to be contradicted on, so I’d expect her to ask things she knows you can’t answer. I think there is genuine frustration out here when some hosts use a reporter’s presence to give their views more credibility, which of course undermines the reporter. not saying this interview did that, but it happens.

    Anyway, something to think about.

  76. 76

    Thanks Jake for adding your thoughts. I look forward to the audio. You may adhere to the “both sides do it” philosophy a bit too often in your reporting for my tastes but I have found you generally more willing to engage and listen to us unwashed masses of the intertoobz. Thanks for that. We are all citizens after all. (If only someone would inform your sister organization’s poster child Mr. Beck of that fact.)

  77. 77
    freelancer says:

    @Jake Tapper:

    I said the Members of Congress who received death threats didn’t hold a press conference to announce the threats, Majority Leader Hoyer mentioned them in a press conference. She asked me my opinion as to what his motives were, I said I’m paid to suppress my opinions, my job is to report facts.

    Fact: Obama’s latest physical stated that he needed to continue efforts to quit smoking.

    Maybe you have some more reporting to do, the people demand to know if Obama had a cigarette the day he signed the Health Care Bill into law! Get on it, Mr. Tapper.

  78. 78
    Libby says:

    FWIW, I think this is indeed the real Jake responding and no matter what you think about his answers, you have to give him credit for engaging in the convo. Most of the big journos don’t bother.

    Also, having been at the receiving end of threats of violence this week for my posts, I agree that jokes about it are not funny. This is clearly not the week to be snarking about it. Only gives the wingnuts ammo to say we do it too.

  79. 79
    licensed to kill time says:

    __

    When Ingraham suggested that Hoyer scheduled the news conference to discuss the threats in order to score political points

    People like Ingraham ascribe motivations and actions to the other side that they themselves hold or would do. They are incapable of seeing it any other way because that is how they would act or react. Political theater trumps actual threats or deeply held convictions or even real governance.

  80. 80
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Meh. I don’t expect a man on a sinking ship to shoot holes through the hull of one of the last lifeboats solely on principle.

  81. 81
    Jake Tapper says:

    I just got the audio. The president is talking now so I can’t do the whole transcript — I have to cover his speech — but here are some of the comments I made in the interview —

    “There are legitimate concerns and fears by Democratic Members of Congress about some of the remarks and some of the things that have been done in terms of, one congressman, his brother’s house was vandalized, I think the gas line was cut…”

    Laura made a comment along the lines of what Doug wrote above, that if you “go against the will of the people” you can expect malcontents and freaks to do things that are stupid — that’s when i tried to underline that these things are serious, saying:

    “Laura, I’m sure you are on the receiving end of some nasty vitriol, perhaps even God forbid death threats, when that sort of thing happens, and it happens –”

    She interrupted, and I said:

    “Let’s just posit this on which I think we can both agree, okay? Nobody should be on the receiving end of racial epithets, the kind of angry vitriolic language that attacks people personally, whoever they are, on the left or the right, nobody should be on the receiving end of that, nobody should be on the receiving end of death threats.”

    More to come.

    – Jake

  82. 82
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Jake Tapper:

    1) I condemn death threats;
    2) I condemn other forms of violence such as rocks being thrown through windows or cutting gas lines;
    3) I only said that to Laura because I myself have had threats directed at me or my family (see comment #43 above for one small example) and I was trying to underline to her that it’s not funny;
    4) I condemn all forms of political violence.

    Jake,

    Thanks for taking the time to engage us here. I appreciate and support what you wrote in the quotation above. Part of what makes this such a good set of statements is that you are engaging the moral issues here directly, rather than skirting around them or ignoring them entirely out of a preference for horse-race style political coverage (Is this good for party X? If yes, why, if not, why not…).

    Perhaps this is a good time to reflect on whether that approach would add greater value to your coverage of other issues as well. Much of the frustration and venting towards members of the press in forums like this comes (in my humble opinion) from the damage that is done to public discourse when reporters abrogate their role in acting as judges of fact and morality – an act which concedes ground and provides an advantage to whichever side is more shameless in lying, spinning and catapulting propaganda.

    You in the press have great power – with that comes responsibility to use it as best you can in the public interest, something you (the press as a whole, not just you personally) haven’t being doing a conspicuously good job of as of late. I grew up in the 60s, my first memory of US politics dates back to the assassination of RFK in 1968. I remember at a near-adult level of sophistication the 1972 campaign. And I’ve lived abroad and experienced first hand on a daily basis an English language news media which is not based in the US. I can’t begin to describe to you the sense of how far our standards of journalism here in the US have fallen in my lifetime, or the anger and near-despair that creates. I have to spend a significant amount of time and energy at home teaching my school age children some very sophisticated media criticism techniques, because of how dangerous and misleading the content which they see on TV or read in the newspapers has become. I think we can do better, if only because I have personally experienced it. Please try to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

    But I have to tell you—I’m not going to indulge the Kristallnacht metaphor. I think using Nazi/Holocaust comparisons are shallow and does a disservice to history.

    I endorse this without reservation.

  83. 83
    flukebucket says:

    “go against the will of the people” you can expect malcontents and freaks to do things that are stupid

    This is what bothers me the most. Hell, I didn’t spit on people and call them niggers and faggots and throw bricks through windows when we invaded Iraq and that damn sure was against my will.

    Here we are talking abouth health care reform and the country is coming apart at the seams. It just makes no sense to me.

  84. 84
    geg6 says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    This.

    And, yes, good on Tapper for explaining himself here. Now if only he and his compatriots would do the same in the larger media venues to which they have exclusive access and where the vast majority of the non-politically engaged gets their news and information and not just on a relatively small blog (compared to say HuffPo or Drudge) filled with political junkies who are often geeks about policy areas in which they have expertise.

  85. 85
    El Cid says:

    I would think the reference to “Fat Tony” would be to the Simpsons cartoon mafioso, who is frequently making at first oblique and then bluntly clarified threats.

  86. 86
    Violet says:

    @Jake Tapper:

    Laura made a comment along the lines of what Doug wrote above, that if you “go against the will of the people” you can expect malcontents and freaks to do things that are stupid

    Setting aside the obvious issue that Representatives who were elected by a majority of the electorate doing something that in no way is “against the will of the people” (if you believe polls), the correct answer to this statement is,”No, I do not expect that people who are disappointed by policy decisions will ‘do things that are stupid.'”

    That mindset is part of the problem. It’s a toddler mindset: “I didn’t get my way, so I’m going to throw a tantrum.”

    Mr. Tapper, I understand that radio interviews can be a minefield for someone such as yourself, who is supposed to maintain something resembling journalistic objectivity, but allowing that claim by Laura Ingraham to go by without comment is a significant oversight on your part. WHY should anyone “expect” such behavior? Why did you not counter her on that assumption?

    I got the impression that was one of Doug’s issues with the whole exchange.

  87. 87
    Jake Tapper says:

    Violet —

    I was trying to argue that these kinds of threats, etc., should NOT be expected, that they’re not just stupid, they’re troubling.

    That’s why i tried to talk about death threats, etc, that she and others in the media have received — to make the point that this is serious and these things shouldn’t be expected. Certainly just because she says controversial things she shouldn’t have threats made against her or expect them to come as a matter of course — that was where I was going.

    And then I said nobody should be on the receiving end of such threats, attacks, etc. So I think I made it clear.

    – Jake

  88. 88
    va says:

    Jake Tapper,

    Maybe you would do better to explain that tea-party types don’t have legitimate grievances, much less grievances that would move anyone to violence. I’m not impressed by your condemnation of violence. I would be impressed if you could educate people.

  89. 89
    Anton Sirius says:

    Jake, have you considered simply refusing to go on shows like Ingraham’s (or Stephanie Miller’s, for an obligatory not-at-all-equivalent lefty radio show)? Or does ABC not give you that option?

  90. 90
    Violet says:

    @Jake Tapper:
    I do believe you are in no way advocating violence. I will reserve judgment on the actual interview until I hear the audio. I hope you or someone can link it at some point. Sometimes tone conveys words very differently.

    From what both you and Doug have written of the exchange, however, you did what a lot of media types do, which is to immediately go into left/right, red/blue, horse-race coverage, rather than dig into the substance of the issue: “We’ve both received threats.”

    The real issue for me in this exchange is the word “expect.” It sounds like Laura Ingraham “expects” people will “do stupid things” if they don’t get their way. I personally feel that those who have clout and influence (such as those with radio or TV shows) should be called on those kinds of beliefs if one is given the chance. You had the chance and didn’t take it.

    This kind of belief system is not a left/right, red/blue issue. It’s a core, fundamental tenet of how democracies work. Majority rules. Elections have consequences. If influential people operate from a point of view that if people don’t get their way they should be “expected” to “do stupid things,” well that undermines the foundation of how our governmental system works.

    I’m disappointed in the media for whitewashing over such attitudes, and sorry you didn’t take the opportunity you had to point it out. But like I said, if the audio proves differently, I will happily revise my opinion.

    Thanks for taking the time to post here in the comments.

  91. 91
    Tax Analyst says:

    @aimai:

    If your base is made up of crazy extremists then its always going to be the fault of the other guy that they got riled up. Always. I guess what I’m saying is you go to politics with the crazy base you’ve got, not the crazy base you’d like to have. I think that’s what Ingraham means. If they had rocket scientists and geniuses, great political leaders and thoughtful, moral types on their side they’d definitely use them. But they don’t.

    And if they had rocket scientists, geniuses, great political leaders and thoughtful moral types why the hell would they listen to a brainless, dip-shitess, tartette like Laura Ingraham?

  92. 92
    Punchy says:

    @Jake Tapper: Methinks arguing anything on the LI show against her (and her listeners’) convictions is assured of getting treatment akin to what Massa recieved from Beck. I do not envy you having to attempt to engage in facts and reason and logic with a woman’s whose whole paycheck demands she be as demonstrative, bombastic, and emotionally irrational as possible.

    Having said that, it would have made for better theater (that’s all it is, really) if you had more stridently shot down her points/lies. Also.

  93. 93
    slag says:

    or the guy who threw the shoe at George W. Bush.

    Shortbusbully is right. Were that guy’s shoes filled with bricks?

    As for you, Tapper, jron said it much nicer than I would have. You all have been playing this false equivalency game for far too long, and the problems it has caused have become obvious to pretty much everyone except for you and your colleagues. I honestly don’t know why people even listen to you guys anymore.

  94. 94
    ricky says:

    I am curious if Tapper’s appearance here came at the advice of Greenwald.

  95. 95
    flukebucket says:

    Is it going to be possible to post up the actual audio?

  96. 96
    kay says:

    Tea party protesters are reportedly planning a protest at the home of Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin later this week, prompting Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer to work with local law enforcement officials to ensure Frumin’s safety.

    I think it’s creepy as hell that they’re going to his house.

  97. 97
    rs says:

    Thank you for participating on this thread, Mr. Tapper. Judging from your remarks, you’re obviously a smart and presumably well-read guy. It’s your intelligence and erudition that causes the frustration many of us feel when journalists like yourself, who do know better, let go unchallenged over-the-top rhetoric and blatantly false assertions under the guise of ‘objectivity’. It’s what leads to our conclusions that many journalists are either covering an issue with an agenda of their own or that their primary interest is simply the ‘horse-race’ aspect of a story.
    By the way, this is the second blog I’ve been on today that has had a ‘mainstream’ journalist comment. David Cay Johnston made a contribution in the comment section of Dean Baker’s Beat the Press.

  98. 98
    Violet says:

    Along the lines of the false equivalency stuff, are you guys going to dig into the issue of the claim of violence at Cantor’s office?

    Facts:

    Eric Cantor won’t release the phone calls. The “office” is that of a political consultant. There doesn’t seem to be a police report.

    This is not actually equivalent to what has happened at Democrats’ offices. The media – and Mr. Tapper, that includes you – should treat it as such.

  99. 99
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @va:

    Maybe you would do better to explain that tea-party types don’t have legitimate grievances, much less grievances that would move anyone to violence.

    Putting aside for a moment the illegitimacy and loathsomeness of violence as a political tool (something we all seem to be in agreement on here in this discussion), I’d like to qualify and modify your statement “don’t have legitimate grievances”. None of us have a perfect crystal ball. Unlikely though it may seem, there is still a finite chance that the HCR law just passed may turn out in the long run to be bad policy. If somebody wants to argue that, I may dispute their facts or their analysis, but I’m not going to call them illegitimate on policy grounds alone.

    What is illegitimate about their present complaints is this: HCR has just been passed into law by the Democrats after overcoming the numerous hurdles to reform imposed by a fundamentally and structurally small-c conservative system of government. In order to get this passed, we had to win 2 consecutive wave elections (2006 and 2008) on a massive scale so as to control both branches of Congress by large margins and the WH as well, and then had to make significant policy compromises so that the resulting plan came to resemble Republican policy proposals circa 1995, and had to give up much of the legislative calendar for 2009 (which could have been used to work on other bills), just to get it passed.

    It is very hard to pass major legislation like this in our system of govt. here in the US, and that is by design not accident. One has only to look at structural barriers in the Senate for example to realize how hard it is to get anything controversial done in our system. The flip side of this very conservative system biased in favor of political gridlock is that policy which does get passed into law enjoys remarkable stability compared with reforms made via a parliamentary system (which can be more easily passed but also more easily reversed). It will be extremely difficult for the Republicans to repeal HCR now that it has finally passed. Just look at Social Security or Medicare for precedents.

    Yet now, after having used every last trick in the book, after having dug up tools for obstruction and delay and sabotage from every nook and cranny of our small-c conservative political system, the opponents of HCR want to turn around and make it all go away by fiat. They want to enjoy all the benefits of a gridlock and inaction-biased system while fighting to stop reform, and then throw all of that away now that they’ve finally lost. But life doesn’t work like that – you can’t have your cake and eat it too. And being ticked off about it is fundamentally illegitimate, regardless of the policy merits (or lack thereof) of their position, or the appropriateness of their tactics.

  100. 100
    David in NY says:

    Thanks, Jake. I would be interested to hear (or maybe see a transcript of) the program. Seems to me that going on these extremist shows puts you in the difficult position of possibly seeming complicit in opinions that are expressed, and which you cannot counter, because you are not supposed to give an opinion. But I think often it is reporters’ fault that this happens because they are not really doing their job.

    Let me give an example. When Ingraham opined that Hoyer was staging the conference for political gain and asked you to respond, I’m not sure that it was right just to say you could not state your opinion. I think that, as a reporter, it was up to you to analyze the available evidence. That would be, what the subject matter of the presser was, whether the opening statement dealt with threats, whether the threats were actually serious or a mere pretext for political show, etc. You could weigh all the evidence on both sides and state which side had the better evidence. I don’t think that’s opinion. That’s your job.

  101. 101
    DougJ says:

    @Jake Tapper:

    That is not a threat to your family. He was mocking right-wingers for having said various things along those lines in the past.

    Thank you for stopping by to engage.

    Try listening to the interview again and I think you will see where I am coming from.

  102. 102
    slag says:

    @va:

    I’m not impressed by your condemnation of violence. I would be impressed if you could educate people.

    In Tapper’s defense on this one, educating people is hard. I, for one, would be impressed, if he and his colleagues could even try to educate people.

  103. 103
    flukebucket says:

    over-the-top rhetoric and blatantly false assertions

    Isn’t that the very definition of The Laura Ingraham Show? And Neal Boortz? And Rush Limbaugh? And Glenn Beck? And on and on and on.

    These folks depend on the incurious, irrational and unreasonable to make a living and they make a damn good living.

    It gets discouraging sometimes but then I listen to the guy the Americans elected President the last time around and it gives me hope.

  104. 104
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @slag:

    In Tapper’s defense on this one, educating people is hard. I, for one, would be impressed, if he and his colleagues could even try to educate people.

    Speaking for myself, I grade on efforts not results. Having said that, while results are not guaranteed regardless of the efforts made, if no effort is made then we know what that will produce.

    I hope that the spiral of polarization and violence we seem to be in now may come to a stop because folks like Jake in positions of power and responsibility within our system have a road to damascus moment and realize that if they aren’t educating the public, then who is? And if not now, then when? And that if nobody is doing it, eventually we are going to have the sort of country that nobody with any sense wants to live in, and perhaps it is well past the time to stop that trend and put it into reverse.

  105. 105
    va says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Well, to my mind, if you’re disputing tea party facts, then you’re saying their grievances aren’t legitimate. If someone like Jake Tapper were to say, no, in fact, the healthcare bill does not represent a socialist takeover, or call for death panels, etc. (none of these are “opinions” by the way), then maybe the tea people would think twice about throwing bricks.

  106. 106
    geg6 says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    You know, not to mention that it seems to me that anyone who has read the Constitution and the Federalist Papers knows that the press is given special rights and responsibilities that, while the responsibilities are not enumerated in the Constitution itself, give them a mission to educate the public. There is a good reason that the press has been called the Fourth Estate all throughout our history. It’s because they are a de facto part of the separation of powers with their role being that of fact checking the other three. Not exclusively being a source of false equivalency or discussing the horse race aspects of our political discourse, but actually seeking out facts, weighing the merits of arguments, and making sure the public understands what the various branches of government propose to do in our names.

  107. 107
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Jake and Laura should have spent more time talking about Dartmouth. Woo! Big Green! Give a rouse for the College on the Hill!

  108. 108
    Jake Tapper says:

    Doug —

    Jokes about threats to anyone’s family = not funny. Period. Glad to know, though, that it was a “joke.” But – not funny.

    I listened to the show again and still 100% disagree with your take.

    I called the fears of threatened congressmen “legitimate” and said no one should be making such threats, or using epithets, etc.

    I raised Leader Hoyer’s press conference not to suggest that he was trying to exploit the violence but to correct her suggestion that the 10 House Democrats who requested extra security had held a press conference to “whine” about the threats, as she suggested.

    I was trying to point out it was Hoyer who held the press conference, not them. Perhaps he was trying to “dampen” things down, I said. (Or tried to. There were a lot of interruptions.)

    That said, I know that there is an inherent inequity when a reporter goes on the radio show of an opinion-monger. Their opinions can thrive in the vaccuum of my refusal to offer an opinion, since that’s not my job. So this has definitely given me something to think about.

    But boy do I think your post is inaccurate and unfair.

    Hope you all have a good rest of the day —

    Jake

  109. 109
    DougJ says:

    @Jake Tapper:

    Jokes about threats to anyone’s family = not funny. Period. Glad to know, though, that it was a “joke.” But – not funny.

    I agree.

  110. 110
    Jake Tapper says:

    One last thing, Doug –

    This > “I doubt Tapper is that much of a right-winger, but he knows which side his bread is buttered on. He knows that national tv news is a dying medium and that he may have to jump on the Murdoch crazy train at some point in order to pay the bills. In short, he’s a careerist sociopath, ready to dance on the graves of Congressmen if it means he can keep a Fox gig lined up down the road.”

    Is so wrong in so many ways I can’t even begin to address it. It is so horrifically insulting — the idea that I would be happy with violence to anyone…or condone it…it makes me think even engaging here is a complete waste of time.

  111. 111
    geg6 says:

    @Jake Tapper:

    I find your objections objectionable. I have been around a lot longer than you and for you to self-righteously claim that you are insulted when you and your compatriots operate in such a way that it is a detriment to the country, I can only laugh at your bs. If there is anything more destructive to our country right now than you and people like you in the MSM, I don’t see it. The major media are dying and good riddance. You have abrogated every single responsibility you have to the nation and to the Constitution and Bill of Rights that provide you with protections no average citizen gets. When a comedy show is the only trusted MSM outlet in the nation, you can see why your butthurt over Doug calling you out is nothing more than laughable to people who aren’t, and who have no desire to be, a part of your Village.

  112. 112
    Jake Tapper says:

    geg6 —

    I don’t know what you’re talking about. If you have a specific item you want to discuss, am happy to engage. Do I think the mainstream media did its job in the build-up to the war in Iraq? No, I don’t. I was at Salon at the time and wrote many stories about WMD and the “Coalition of the Willing,” etc. But I can’t address scattershot attacks on the MSM and the Village without knowing more specifically what you’re upset about.

    – Jake

  113. 113
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Jake Tapper:

    This > “I doubt Tapper is that much of a right-winger, but he knows which side his bread is buttered on. He knows that national tv news is a dying medium and that he may have to jump on the Murdoch crazy train at some point in order to pay the bills. In short, he’s a careerist sociopath, ready to dance on the graves of Congressmen if it means he can keep a Fox gig lined up down the road.”
    __
    Is so wrong in so many ways I can’t even begin to address it. It is so horrifically insulting—the idea that I would be happy with violence to anyone…or condone it…it makes me think even engaging here is a complete waste of time.

    While your abhorrence of violence against anyone is noted, it is also noted that you had no response to the statements about knowing which side your bread is buttered on, or that national TV news is a dying medium, propped up substantially by the Rupert Murdoch business model.

    But good on you for condoning violence.

  114. 114
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Jake Tapper:

    But I can’t address scattershot attacks on the MSM and the Village without knowing more specifically what you’re upset about.

    They’re not scattershot. They are directly attacking the current makeup of the Village and traditional media outlets in this country as a whole. Almost everything about their day-to-day operations is a failure of the charges the Fourth Estate is supposed to uphold. If you’re looking to play the intellectually disingenuous “What are you people so angry about?” card, you’ve come to the wrong place, sir.

    If you don’t know the common critiques leveled at the Village on a day-to-day basis, you are a bigger failure than I imagined.

  115. 115
    Punchy says:

    I don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Spend about a week here and this’ll change quickly.

  116. 116

    @Jake Tapper:

    specifically what you’re upset about

    I won’t speak for geg6, though we’re familiar with each other.

    I will say this, I think in this instance you tried to do the right thing and especially by coming here. That doesn’t touch what pisses me off and a lot of people around here.

    You have and your compatriots are often more guilty of using false equivalence by reporting “he said/she said” without context or fact checking and that makes statements equal. Taken to its ludicrous end, X says the moon is green cheese and Y says its rock. /end

    WTF are people supposed to make of this? How in the hell is the public supposed to sort issues out? We all know politicians say things to benefit their political ends, there is supposed to be somebody standing between “us” and “them” – YOU GUYS.

    I’m a fierce partisan but I’ll kick my own side when they lie or roll over for liars. I make no pretence to be a jouralist, in fact I have to count on you guys and you “going away” would be a huge blow – but not so much with this horse race/false equivalancy reporting. If you’re going to deny doing this – you need to go read your own reports. That’s sad because you actually show some promise at being real good at your job.

  117. 117
    ruemara says:

    @demo woman: When you’ve lost Hasselbeck…

    no blonde moron vote?

  118. 118
    les says:

    @Jake Tapper:

    Examples-not specific instances, but the manner in which the msm-and you, in cases I’ve seen-

    Stenographic reporting of demonstrably false statements from politicians and pundits, without contradiction or explanation.
    Constant exposure for utterly marginal people-Rove, Lynn Cheney, Gingrich-as if they are relevant and important, without contradiction or explanation.
    The “agenda-free, opinion-free” news folks consistently failing to report on or contradict the factual errors and misrepresentations of those folks with agendas and opinions.

    And while it’s possibly not on you personally, the utterly shameful abdication by msm ownership and editorial management of its obligation to tell the fucking truth about what they publish and those to whom they give access to prime space.

    You don’t think media did a good job in the run up to George’s little adventure; do you honestly believe they’re doing a better job today? And are you improving it?

  119. 119

    @Chuck Butcher:
    For somebody to say they read blogs, particularly politcal or media oriented blogs, to wonder what “specifically” is twisting people’s tails is rather odd. I can’t begin to count the number of times what I brought up has been a charge leveled at MSM. When a GOPer lies to your face it is scarcely “liberal bias” to say, “wait a minute,” but is seems decades of “liberal bias” accusations have done their work.

    I don’t give a damn what your personal politics are and I don’t care who is lying or “misrepresenting,” it is your job to catch it, right or left.

  120. 120
    MattR says:

    @les: Or more recently, how about the use of reconcilliation and “deem and pass” as part of the process to pass HCR.

  121. 121
    flukebucket says:

    Do I think the mainstream media did its job in the build-up to the war in Iraq?

    How do you think they did in regards to ACORN and O’Keefe?

  122. 122
    geg6 says:

    @Jake Tapper:

    Pahleeze. You don’t know what I’m talking about. Plausible deniability, I guess.

    For your edification and directly from the discussion in this thread, here’s what I’m talking about:

    Perhaps this is a good time to reflect on whether that approach would add greater value to your coverage of other issues as well. Much of the frustration and venting towards members of the press in forums like this comes (in my humble opinion) from the damage that is done to public discourse when reporters abrogate their role in acting as judges of fact and morality – an act which concedes ground and provides an advantage to whichever side is more shameless in lying, spinning and catapulting propaganda.
    __
    You in the press have great power – with that comes responsibility to use it as best you can in the public interest, something you (the press as a whole, not just you personally) haven’t being doing a conspicuously good job of as of late. I grew up in the 60s, my first memory of US politics dates back to the assassination of RFK in 1968. I remember at a near-adult level of sophistication the 1972 campaign. And I’ve lived abroad and experienced first hand on a daily basis an English language news media which is not based in the US. I can’t begin to describe to you the sense of how far our standards of journalism here in the US have fallen in my lifetime, or the anger and near-despair that creates. I have to spend a significant amount of time and energy at home teaching my school age children some very sophisticated media criticism techniques, because of how dangerous and misleading the content which they see on TV or read in the newspapers has become. I think we can do better, if only because I have personally experienced it. Please try to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

    There is a good reason that the press has been called the Fourth Estate all throughout our history. It’s because they are a de facto part of the separation of powers with their role being that of fact checking the other three. Not exclusively being a source of false equivalency or discussing the horse race aspects of our political discourse, but actually seeking out facts, weighing the merits of arguments, and making sure the public understands what the various branches of government propose to do in our names.

    From what both you and Doug have written of the exchange, however, you did what a lot of media types do, which is to immediately go into left/right, red/blue, horse-race coverage, rather than dig into the substance of the issue: “We’ve both received threats.”
    __
    The real issue for me in this exchange is the word “expect.” It sounds like Laura Ingraham “expects” people will “do stupid things” if they don’t get their way. I personally feel that those who have clout and influence (such as those with radio or TV shows) should be called on those kinds of beliefs if one is given the chance. You had the chance and didn’t take it.
    __
    This kind of belief system is not a left/right, red/blue issue. It’s a core, fundamental tenet of how democracies work. Majority rules. Elections have consequences. If influential people operate from a point of view that if people don’t get their way they should be “expected” to “do stupid things,” well that undermines the foundation of how our governmental system works.

    I’d paste a few more, but I know WordPress will only allow so many blockquotes before I end up in moderation. But the criticism that I leveled at you is all throughout this thread. AND YOU HAVE NOT ADDRESSED ANY OF IT. I had hoped that your appearance here on BJ might mean you actually were curious about criticism of you and other media figures and wanted to have a dialogue about it. Instead, what we get is the typical butthurt complaining that we misunderstand you. Dude, you are the one in the business of communication. If we’re misunderstanding you (and believe me, the BJ commentariat are NOT the dimwits you’ll find at RedState), it’s your fault. Not ours.

    No, sir, Mr. Tapper. We understand you very well.

  123. 123
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Jake Tapper,

    I have to say that, while I’ve disagreed with some of your responses in this thread and share with many other commenters here a continual state of soul-crushing disappointment in the way you and your colleagues fail to do your jobs, I am impressed that you came here and engaged in dialogue with us. You’ve earned some of my respect, and consequently I want to apologize for using a derogatory name in reference to you above. I formed my impression of you based on your fainting couch investigative reportage into the pressing issue of whether or not candidate Obama had taken a puff of a cigarette. That’s probably unfair, but it is where I was coming from.

    That said, I hope you take to heart the critique regarding reporters appearing on opinion shows. I can actually respect that you keep your opinions to yourself; if many of your colleagues in the “straight” media did likewise that would probably be a good thing. But it does make for an awkward “silence means assent” situation.

  124. 124
    Jake Tapper says:

    As I said, the reason I raised the possibility of threats to Laura was to argue that they’re nothing to be taken lightly. It wasn’t to do what so many of you are painting it to be — as an attempt at equivalence, as in, “Oh, liberals make threats, too.”

    It was an attempt to say: Hey, this is serious. You know what it’s like, I bet.

    I can’t defend arguments I didn’t make and things I never said. Doug misunderstood many of my comments and did not represent it accurately.

    I read this blog and many others and understand full well the thousands of criticisms against the mainstream media. I even agree with many of them.

    I asked what geg6 was upset about not because I’m unaware of the myriad faults of the thousands of members of the media, but because I was curious about what specifically he wanted me to address. It was not pleading ignorance, it was an invitation to discuss whatever he wanted to,

    I agree that too often people in the media create a false he said/he said equivalence, and let mistruths go unchallenged, and serve as stenographers. I don’t know what else I can say about that, other than I agree it happens too often.

    thanks for the conversation —

    Jake

  125. 125
    Face says:

    Or more recently, how about the use of reconcilliation and “deem and pass” as part of the process to pass HCR.

    And how about parroting the RW talking points that the use of reconcilliation was “the nuclear option”, when EVERYONE IN WASHINGTON knows that phrase involved the abolishment of filibusters, not reconcilliation.

    But you wouldn’t want to call Bullshit! on your GOP tough guys, would ya?

  126. 126
    MattR says:

    @Jake Tapper:

    thanks for the conversation—
    Jake

    In all seriousness, thank you for coming here and making the effort to engage us.

  127. 127
    les says:

    @Jake Tapper:

    I agree that too often people in the media create a false he said/he said equivalence, and let mistruths go unchallenged, and serve as stenographers. I don’t know what else I can say about that, other than I agree it happens too often.

    I guess, if you’re serious, “what else” you can say is you will not continue the practices, you will point out when your colleagues indulge in the practices, you will write the facts that contradict the he said/she said columns and the falsehoods and the false equivalencies and the misrepresentations. You can, in short, do your fucking job; the job that caused my civics teachers, back in the old days, to hold up for our young admiration the important task and the actual performance of the fourth estate.
    Christ on a pogo stick, this ain’t rocket science. “What do we want you to do about it,” forsooth.

  128. 128
    Jake Tapper says:

    Face —

    I never did that.

    The only time I’ve mentioned the “nuclear option” was in a blog in which I pointed out that it was not the same thing as reconciliation.

    GOPers were circulating some quotes of then-Sen. Obama’s objecting to the nuclear option.

    I wrote that “In 2005, then-Sen. Obama was not talking about the use of reconciliation rules; but rather about a larger rule change, what came to be known by opponents as the ‘nuclear option,’ and by supporters as the ‘constitutional option.’ (Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., originally coined the ‘nuclear option’ terminology but then stopped using it.)”

    The blog went on from there. I pointed out the history, how Senate Democrats had been blocking some of President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees through use of the threat of a filibuster; of 57 nominees for the U.S. Court of Appeals, 42 were confirmed, five never received hearings, and 10 were blocked by threat of filibuster. Democrats said this was nothing compared to 60 or so nominees of President Bill Clinton for whom Republicans refused to even hold hearings, etc. etc.

    I also wrote that reconciliation rules were used for both of President George W. Bush’s major tax cut provisions in 2001 and 2003, and for various health care measures, including the creation of COBRA, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicare benefits for hospice care, and so on…

    best
    Jake

  129. 129
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Jake Tapper:

    I agree that too often people in the media create a false he said/he said equivalence, and let mistruths go unchallenged, and serve as stenographers. I don’t know what else I can say about that, other than I agree it happens too often.

    I echo what fasteddie9318 at #124 said. Thank you for engaging here and I hope this only the first in a series of such dialogs. Here’s a suggestion: don’t be a passive accomplice or victim of poor journalistic practices. Stand up (if only by example) and be an activist – not for one political party or another, nor for some ideology or another – but rather for better journalism. If you already know that current standard industry practice is defective, act on that knowledge to do something about it. The power of example is non-trivial, particularly in a reputationally driven field like media. Here’s what I wrote a few moments ago along these lines, before I saw your response. I hope it helps:

    Rather than engage in recriminations, I’m going to make a (hopefully constructive) suggestion for scaling back a practice which is endemic in both TV and print press today. As much as is practical stop writing constructions with the stucture: “Person X said Y about..“. Speaking as a consumer of news, I’m not interested in what some person on one side or the other of our political wars said, because talk is cheap and has been in a deflationary spiral for a long time now.

    What I am interested in doing is reading a writer who can pen a sentence with the structure: “Person X said Y, and what I (the reporter) found* upon checking up on this claim is ABC“. There is nothing wrong with a reporter having a personal viewpoint and using it to render personal judgement on the truth or falsity (or mix of both) of statements by public officials and other political actors. In fact it is essential that you do this if we are to have journalism that serves the public interest.

    We in the audience have the responsibility for learning over time who amongst reporters can be trusted to render such judgements accurately and fairly in our view, and who cannot. That is our job, not yours. Don’t try to do our job for us by trying to take yourself out of the equation, as if that can somehow create a more objective truth – it can’t, and all that doing so accomplishes is to hand more power over to the biggest liars and the folks who are best at playing the access game. Instead try to report facts as much as possible, and if you can’t get facts and have to make do with opinions, then make sure that the opinion which is expressed is your opinion, something that if push comes to shove you personally are willing to stand behind, and hopefully take professional pride in. You aren’t doing either us as an audience or your profession any good by reporting other people’s opinions unsubstantiated by your own fact checking process. In other words, act as if you are a chef, and don’t serve food to us that you wouldn’t eat (with pride and relish) yourself.

    *(within the limited time available to me as a reporter to investigate this claim, pending further investigation later as warranted by the circumstances).

  130. 130
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Jake Tapper:

    I agree that too often people in the media create a false he said/he said equivalence, and let mistruths go unchallenged, and serve as stenographers. I don’t know what else I can say about that, other than I agree it happens too often.

    @les:

    I guess, if you’re serious, “what else” you can say is you will not continue the practices, you will point out when your colleagues indulge in the practices, you will write the facts that contradict the he said/she said columns and the falsehoods and the false equivalencies and the misrepresentations. You can, in short, do your fucking job; the job that caused my civics teachers, back in the old days, to hold up for our young admiration the important task and the actual performance of the fourth estate.
    Christ on a pogo stick, this ain’t rocket science. “What do we want you to do about it,” forsooth.

    Thank you.

    Really, Jake, it isn’t that hard at all to do your fucking job. “I don’t know what else I can do about that”? The mistake that you’re making is in thinking that you’ve even done anything about it in the first place.

    What have you done to push back on the know-nothingism of your colleagues in the traditional media? How many of your fellow stenographers journalists have you publicly called out for lying or obfuscating on a story of great importance? How many conflicts of interest have you reveled about the various members of the Village who also have their hands in the pockets on numerous corporate overlords? How many stories have you filed about the networks and reporters implicated in the Pentagon propaganda plot involving retired military analysts being used to produce positive wartime news coverage from 2008?

    Absolutely.Nothing.

    Do I think the mainstream media did its job in the build-up to the war in Iraq? No, I don’t.

    The fact that you use this as your go-to example of media failure speaks volumes about your disconnect from reality, as well as your “Oh heavens, I just don’t know how to fix things!” routine. The number of stories that you and your compatriots-in-stenography have dropped the ball on in the past 365 days is as equally egregious as it is disgusting, and the hatchet job on ACORN certainly has to rank right at the top of the list.

    I respect you for coming here and engaging the commentariat, but let’s be clear, that is about all I respect you for.

  131. 131

    @Jake Tapper:
    You’re going to get it harder in regard to behavior than a lot because you do show some promise. What you can do is agressively do actual journalism ALL THE DAMN TIME and when you miss it – as anybody will – make it clear that you did and fix it. We all know you have bosses, well you’re on pretty safe ground if you’re sticking to your guns on doing journalism. Your bosses don’t want the fire they’d take for messing with you on that.

    I doubt that going after your colleagues would be good practice – but acting as though the purveyors of stupid (FOX?) are worthy of respect is going too damn far. Expecting you to police the media is asking too much – how about you succeeding by doing it right?

  132. 132
    les says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Oh sure, say what I want to say but go all eloquent and reasonable and sensical about it. F’n show off.

  133. 133
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @les:
    Hey, sometimes you gotta play good cop, bad cop. Next time we’ll switch – you can be the nice guy, and I’ll do my Dick Cheney impression.

  134. 134
    John Cole says:

    I haven’t heard the audio, I’ve been on the road all day, and came back to this mess. I seriously can not leave my computer for few hours without some sort of drama breaking out here or at work.

    1.) I stand by Dougj’s right t say whatever he wants.

    2.) I don’t stand by some of the shit you have all thrown at Jake. The family comment that used to be #43 has been deleted. If I were someone who had paid no attention to all my life and asked to read this comments section, having no idea who any of you are or who Jake Tapper is, I would probably come to the conclusion that you all are as vicious as the Hot Air commentariat and that Jake comes off better. You aren’t helping your arguments.

    3.) I have no one to blame for that but me- because I fly off the handle at people all the time, and have launched broadsides at Jake that turned out to be untrue.

    4.) Everyone calm down and try to be polite to outsiders. I know you are good people, but you sure do not act it. And if I see anyone threaten anyone, you are banned.

  135. 135
    les says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    No, that’s ok, that good guy post looked like a bunch of thinking and organizing and other work-like behavior. I’m better at, ya know, spouting off. Carry on, dude(tte?).

  136. 136
    geg6 says:

    Jake Tapper: If you’re still peeking in, let me say that, at the very least, I am glad that at least one of the Village People see some value in engaging those of us who don’t have the megaphone you have. What I am not glad of is that you seem to accept our criticisms as valid but act helpless to do anything about it. But you DO have the power to do something, something that should be the easiest thing in the world for a journalist at the top of his field. And that is to perform journalism. Not he said/she said; not stenography; not unsourced gossip; not public relations. Journalism. My mother was a newspaper reporter. I’m also old enough to remember what real journalists do, though it is hard to find these days. There are still a few left. I’d point you to people like Jane Mayer and your newest colleague, Christiane Amanpour as good examples of people who still know what real journalism is. Start doing your job the way these women do and my criticisms of you, personally, will stop. I would be happy if I could you up as an example to colleagues like David Gregory and Mark Knoller. It pains me to see my mother’s once proud profession brought so low by its own practitioners. It hurts the nation, too. I want to be proud of our press. Make me proud of you.

  137. 137
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @geg6:

    I want to be proud of our press. Make me proud of you.

    You nailed it with this one.

  138. 138
    AhabTRuler says:

    @John Cole:

    I seriously can not leave my computer for few hours without some sort of drama breaking out here or at work.

    Yeah, tell it to Jane Hamsher.

    That being said, boilerplate about thanks for engaging, but BS. If Tapper really wants to move beyond the false equivalence of modern reporting, he should try not opening with Laura Ingram = Bill Press (Is he even relevant anymore?).

    Mealy-mouthed “I go on the opinion shows of both sides,” BS.

    I think that you are wrong to scrub the comment.

  139. 139
    Violet says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    What I am interested in doing is reading a writer who can pen a sentence with the structure: “Person X said Y, and what I (the reporter) found* upon checking up on this claim is ABC“.

    THIS. This is the kind of journalism I’m looking for. I can read press releases as well as the next person. What I can’t do, because I don’t have the background, resources, or time, is look into the claims and fact-check them and analyze them effectively. I have to depend on others to do that. That’s what I want the press to do, in addition to just reporting basic facts.

    Jake Tapper, if you are still checking out the thread, I want to thank you for coming here and engaging with us. It’s been interesting to hear your point of view. I hope it’s also been instructive and valuable for you to hear ours.

  140. 140
    pattonbt says:

    Whats the quote about not understanding something you’re paid not to understand or some such thing? Whatever it is, that seems to apply to Jake Tapper in regards to the slightly OT part of his engagement here on the lack of an accountable and factual media.

    The problem we see (or I see) with the major media outlets is that they have become infotainment – the gossip of he said she said and horse race calling. It has caused real journalism to exist only on the back pages of newspapers (if at all), public access / dark of night tv time (if at all) and blogs. Most consumers have no access to real journalism through the major outlets. There is no credible reporting on the substance of policy.

    Prime example – only now, after over a year of “death panels”, “gonna kill granny”, “ram down our throats”, “socialism” on and on and on and on are the actual details of the health care proposals seeing the light of day. Why couldnt the Washington Post had a health care calculator up six months ago when the two bills were in their final stages? Why only now after it has become law?

    No major news outlet ever pointed to the facts of what was contained in the bills as a basis for responding to or reporting on what opponents to the bills said about them. The details of the bills were never openly discussed – ever.

    This is why you had polls which showed “health care reform is not popular” (which was the widely reported number) versus “health care reform, when explained what is in the bills, is popular” (which was hardly reported). Why is this? Because policy doesn’t sell advertising – conflict on gossip do.

    The media fails us over and over and over by not aggressively calling BS. We know you guys love to tire swing with McCain and be regaled by his heroic, hotheaded, blue humor and hubris, and we know access means money for you and your family, but spare us the “we do a great service” bit. You do not. You let the public down on a regular basis.

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