We all know that the era of an at least superficially non-partisan media is over. It probably started dying with the slavish deification of John F. Kennedy by a press corps that wanted nothing more than to be part of Camelot. It was certainly moribund by the time Watergate hit. It was deader than crap by the time the media tried to help Al Gore win the Florida recount. Now we’re basically numb to seeing dross like this served up as “interviews” day after day:
Witness the prototypical MSNBC "interview":
Andrea Mitchell: Isn’t Trump a moron for disagreeing with us on global warming?
Sen. Murphy: Totally! He’s also evil; “he’s killing people” on purpose.
Mitchell: Great, thanks for coming on. pic.twitter.com/tXK1jBbIGh
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 15, 2020
If you thought things couldn’t get worse, you were wrong. Now we have national media figures meddling in political races behind the scenes trying to protect friends in Congress by discouraging potential opponents from entering races against them. Last week it was revealed that CNN personality Jake Tapper had contacted Sean Parnell to wave him off from running against Pennsylvania Democrat Conor Lamb (full disclosure, once I was actually threatened with being fired for writing a story critical of Jake Tapper for fear Tapper would stop noticing some Twitter account(s)).
CNN anchor Jake Tapper tried to convince Republican Sean Parnell not to run against incumbent Democrat Rep. Conor Lamb for a Western Pennsylvania House seat, according to a Twitter direct message obtained by Fox News.
Tapper suggested that Parnell, a U.S. Army combat veteran who recently delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention, would be better off running in a safer district for Republicans, according to a source close to, but unaffiliated with, Parnell’s campaign who feels the CNN anchor was unethically participating in political activism.
The idea that a reporter is actively involved in picking candidates is sort of grotesque. But this is CNN, the network that has Brian “Tater” Stelter and Oliver “is that a beard or is your face dirty?” Darcy doing media criticism. And Tapper is the guy who was ringmaster of the circus-of-hate CNN produced in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting. So it isn’t totally out of bounds.
It is sort of bizarre that someone who is known to be completely obsessed with managing his social media reputation as Tapper would actively seek to deter Parnell from running for on Congressional seat in favor of another. It calls into question what kind of quid pro quo deals Tapper has worked out with Conor Lamb and with other candidates or members of Congress of which we are still unaware.
Now, it seems like Tapper is trying to un-ring the bell.
CNN’s Jake Tapper has been pestering Republican congressional candidate Sean Parnell to issue a joint statement with him, as the “State of the Union” anchor tries to clean up the mess he created by attempting to talk Parnell out of running for a Western Pennsylvania House seat, according to multiple sources.
While Tapper has remained silent on the story publicly, he has apparently been working the phones behind the scenes. Calls from Tapper to Parnell have come “multiple times” since the story broke, a source close to Parnell – who does not work for Parnell’s campaign – told Fox News.
“I was with Sean the day one of these stories broke. Tapper was blowing up his phone like an obsessed lunatic,” the source close to Parnell said. “Everyone knew it. By the end of the day, every time Sean’s phone rang or beeped, half a dozen people would roll their eyes, turn to Sean and ask, ‘Tapper?’”
Tapper has also reached out to people close to Parnell, including political allies, attempting to get the Parnell campaign to issue a joint statement that downplays the CNN anchor’s actions.
Tapper has behaved like “teenage girl who just lost her prom king boyfriend,” the source close to Parnell told Fox News, adding that he would be stunned if Parnell’s campaign actually issued a statement defending Tapper.
To make matters worse, Tapper has point-blank lied about his functioning as a political operative.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) September 10, 2020
“Jake lied about his involvement and is now trying to intimidate witnesses. His actions are not what journalists do… his actions are what political operatives do. But CNN doesn’t care because the goal with [CNN President Jeff] Zucker has been and always will be to help Democrats. Jake will get high fives from the Zucker team for what he did. It’s sad how far CNN has fallen; my many friends there are really upset with the current leadership,” Grenell told Fox News when asked for additional comment.
If CNN had any real pretensions remaining to being a news organization, it would remove Tapper from his perch as a pseudo-newsman and slot him as a partisan “analyst.” But it doesn’t, so it won’t.
Just remember whenever you are watching the so-called “straight news” types on CNN and MSNBC and CBS and NBC and ABC, that Jake Tapper is most likely not an anomaly. Tapper was merely the tip of a reef; a reef that is actually the peak of a Mount Everest anchored in the abyssal depths of the Marianas Trench that surfaced for a fraction of a second and then disappeared again.