CNN’s Jake Tapper addresses allegations that he was trying to help the DNC

CNN’s Jake Tapper responded to allegations that he was trying to help the Democratic National Convention after an email that one of his staffers sent to a DNC staffer was released by WikiLeaks.

Tapper posted his response to the allegations on Tumblr saying, “Since I believe in transparency, let address the contents.”

In his response, Tapper addressed the areas of concern and explained what his staffer’s intentions were in the email.

You can read Jake Tapper’s post below:

Wikileaks has published emails from a hack into the DNC and some folks are asking about an email one of my staffers sent to someone at the DNC before an interview, as well as what a DNC staffer wrote internally.

Since I believe in transparency, let me address the contents. 

My writer/producer wrote: “Thanks for facilitating Luis coming on today, and bearing with us through a meelee of GOP nonsense and cancellations and all that.  Any particular points he’ll want to make? We’re gonna stay Dem focused… “

This was a reference to DNC spokesman Luis Miranda coming on the show in April. You can read the transcript of the interview here

The “nonsense” Jason was referring to in his email had to do with a bunch of booking issues, which happens. 

“Any particular points he’ll want to make?” is a fairly standard question – producers and reporters ask it all the time of Democrats, Republicans, everyone, to make sure we don’t miss out on news-making opportunities. 

Have we asked that question of Trump campaign staffers? Absolutely. Of RNC staffers? Absolutely. Of Sanders campaign staffers? Absolutely. And on and on.

But hey, don’t take my word for it: Corey Lewandowski, former campaign manager for Trump, just tweeted in response to some conversations about this topic, “all major outlets ask if there is major topics/events to cover. No exception here. #reality.”…Conservative commentator Kurt Schlichter also weighed in:  “ For what it’s worth (I have not been on with @jaketapper), I get asked my key points all the time, and told the segment’s focus.” …Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer said “True story” when I tweeted  “ It is SOP for a producer to ask an interviewee beforehand if there is anything they want to discuss” and linked to this tumblr.)

Wanting to stay “Dem-focused” is a reference to the fact that I wanted to focus on the Democratic presidential contest – the fight between the Sanders campaign and Clinton campaign about superdelegates. 

As a general note, I don’t find it particularly interesting to have a Democratic party spokesperson attack the Republicans or to have to Republican party spokesperson attack the Democrats, especially during a time of intra-party turmoil.

It’s odd to me that any GOPer would take issue with that term since I was trying to avoid gratuitous insults from a partisan against members of the other party, in this case Republicans.

This email is also getting some pickup on social media because some staffer at the DNC whom I have never even heard of has an internal email in this Wikieak doc about “offering us questions” for us to ask Luis. That’s an idiotic characterization. I have never been given questions to ask any politician and I never will. 

But let’s go to the proof. It was a pretty brief interview. 

My first question was  “ So, you’ve heard these complaints about superdelegates. I know that they’ve been there since the ‘80s? And one of the complaints from Sanders supporter is that super delegates subvert the will of actual voters, that the establishment candidate starts the race with 20 percent of the delegates in his or her pocket. How do you respond?”

This ended up being interesting because Miranda ended up chastising CNN for including superdelegates in the totals on primary nights, which became a talking point for Sanders supporters. 

In general, defending superdelegates is not any DNC spokesman’s favorite task, I would guess. They’re hard to justify.

I also asked if he could “see any scenario in which Hillary Clinton is not your nominee?” To be candid, I knew it was a question he didn’t want to answer since the DNC needs to be neutral during primaries. I wondered how he would answer.

UPDATE: Another Wikileak being asked about. This one has DNC staffers and others talking about DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz sending me a statement. This was in May after Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, said on my show that he was going to endorse Rep. Wasserman-Schultz’s primary opponent. I asked her for a comment. So I guess this is her and her team discussing what comment to say.

And yet another Wikileak being asked about. This one, from May, was from my State of the Union senior producer Teddy Davis was sent individually to all four members of our panel that day, informing them about elements and subjects we might discuss the next morning. All very standard – we want people to come with fully-formed thoughts and prepared for a good debate. (This is different from an interview with a newsmaker – this is a panel discussion with analysts.)

The reason this appears in the DNC hack is because Donna Brazile, who is a Democratic analyst for CNN and ABC, has a leadership role at the DNC.  The other three guests were: Trump supporter Andre Bauer, who is former Lt.. Governor of South Carolina; Sen. Jeff Merkley, the Oregon Democratic Senator who supported Sanders; and Ana Navarro, a Republican CNN Political Commentator who does not support Trump.

You might notice that in that panel we had: DNC person, Sanders person, Trump supporting Republican, non-Trump supporting Republican. That’s by design. We really do try to be fair.

All four of them got this same email. Here is the transcript of that roundtable discussion.

That’s about it. I get that in an era of suspicion of media (and all institutions) there were questions about this, and I hope I answered them. 

– Jake

 

 

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