One of the pushbacks liberals offer to the complaint about the liberal bias of the media is, “what you conservatives really want is just openly conservative media.” I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think that’s largely true. I don’t particularly want to get “news” from Hannity any more than I want to get it from Chris Hayes. Maybe I am old fashioned, but I don’t want or demand openly conservative; what I mostly want is accurate (first) and fair (second).
That is what makes Jake Tapper such a valuable asset on television. Tapper is not a conservative; on the rare occasion that he allows his personal views to seep through in case of assumptions about “everyone surely must think,” he is probably one of the soon-to-be-extinct David Boren-style Democrats out there. But I say “probably” because I don’t know for sure, and that’s to Tapper’s credit. And where he is not conservative, he is almost unfailingly fair and honest, while maintaining a willingness to make every interview at least a relatively tough one.
Here he is at his best with one of Trump’s main surrogates, Michael Cohen. Cohen, for those who haven’t seen him before, is nearly as slippery as Trump in terms of his willingness to stubbornly refuse to answer questions, diverge into non-sequiturs and ipse dixit, and use his own polling as dispositive proof that he’s right. For those who haven’t noticed, the legacy media at large has no way to even make Trump compute, much less get him to actually explain what he thinks or why he believes he can accomplish the things he promises. But in this case, at least Tapper can make the flim-flammery visible, where so many before him failed.
Observe him here cause Cohen to go from using the amazingness of Donald Trump’s memory as conclusive proof that the thousands of Muslims cheering on 9/11 actually happened and saying jeez, what kind of memory to you expect Donald Trump to have, to remember this Serge Kovaleski guy in the span of less than 30 seconds, without developing any visible signs of vertigo on screen.
PS – To answer your question, no, they were not discussing the #BlackLivesMatter protestor before this clip.