Viewers ripped CNN over its promotion of Jake Tapper to its coveted 9 p.m. slot — with some claiming a latest shift within the anchor’s left-leaning reporting to extra centrist and conservative-friendly takes quantities to “pandering” and “kissing up” to his new bosses.
Tapper’s star is rising as CNN’s new boss Chris Licht has been cleansing home and pushing a extra middle-of-the-road strategy, transferring away from punditry that centered on criticizing the Trump administration and conservatives to spice up scores.
“Tapper is making an attempt to outlive,” mentioned a media supply. “He’s kowtowing to his bosses.”
“He’s very bold” and “very hard-working” with a “wholesome ego,” added one other supply who had as soon as labored with the anchor.
Throughout President Donald Trump’s tenure, Tapper had emerged as a liberal bulldog, attacking the correct over pretend information on his reveals “The Lead with Jake Tapper” and “State of the Union.” In 2018, the New York Occasions known as him a “staunch defender of info within the Trump period.”
His tussles with former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway had been even parodied on “Saturday Night Live,” because the anchor defended CNN from being known as “pretend information” by Trump.
However below Licht, the anchor has lately made some uncharacteristic overtures to the correct, together with suggesting that President Biden invite Trump to hitch the American delegation to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London.
In Might, Tapper raised eyebrows when he reduce off a White Home adviser who blamed excessive gasoline costs on Vladimir Putin. And final month, he shared an article on Twitter written by Salena Zito, a conservative columnist for the New York Submit and the Washington Examiner, concerning the race for the US Senate seat in Pennsylvania.
“Jake drank the kool-aid,” certainly one of his liberal viewers wrote on Twitter.
“This isn’t journalism; that is pandering to the brand new boss,” one other wrote. “I assumed you had been one of many good ones.”
Tapper additionally retweeted Ivanka Trump’s endorsement of “Breaking Historical past” penned by her husband, Jared Kushner. The ebook was eviscerated by the Occasions and different reviewers, and the tweet brought about some retailers to surprise if Tapper’s account had been hacked.
After CNN introduced Thursday that Tapper will host a one-hour present at 9 p.m. starting Oct. 10 and thru the midterm elections in early November, naysayers chimed in, calling out Tapper for pandering to his boss’s agenda.
“Getting promoted for kissing as much as the brand new proper wing/Trumper overlords eh Jake?” one user tweeted.
“Don’t watch Jake Tapper on CNN. Simply don’t. He’s taking the lead with Chris Licht as status defenders of Trump and MAGA,” echoed one other.
A CNN spokesperson mentioned, “Jake was not ‘promoted.’ He agreed to anchor the 9p-hour for one month as a part of a particular programming schedule. He has at all times been an aggressive reporter and a tricky however honest interviewer who calls out nonsense and lies, no matter their supply. He has not been requested to vary nor would he. Anybody who really watches CNN is aware of that.”
Tapper didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
If Tapper turns in robust scores, it’s seemingly he’ll completely seize the slot, which had been held by disgraced anchor Chris Cuomo. Cuomo was canned from CNN final yr by then-boss Jeff Zucker after it got here to mild that he secretly aided the protection of his embattled older brother, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Zucker resigned shortly thereafter for not disclosing a romantic relationship with CNN communications exec Allison Gollust.
On the time, a CNN insider advised The Submit that Tapper had been angling for Cuomo’s anchor chair, however the slot was left vacant for practically a yr as new administration on the community’s company father or mother Warner Bros. Discovery set the nonpartisan agenda and ushered in Licht.
Since taking the helm, Licht has ousted left-leaning journalists like Brian Stelter, John Harwood and Jeffrey Toobin. Lately he shook up the morning present, including outspoken primetime anchor Don Lemon together with Kaitlan Collins and Poppy Harlow. They changed present morning present hosts John Berman and Brianna Keiler.
Licht, nevertheless, hasn’t made any huge hires since he arrived in Might. Insiders questioned if he was unable to take any huge swings as Warner Bros. Discovery is in reducing mode because it tries to make good on its promise to traders to search out at the very least $3 billion in financial savings by 2023.
On Thursday, Licht set the remainder of its primetime lineup for the elections, saying it’ll additionally transfer anchor Alisyn Camerota and authorized analyst Laura Coates into the ten p.m.-midnight span that was as soon as hosted by Lemon.
Berman and Keilar will take Tapper’s spot as host of “The Lead” from 4 p.m. to five p.m. whereas veteran political anchor Wolf Blitzer will stay as host of “The Scenario Room” from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Erin Burnett will proceed to helm the 7 p.m. hour whereas Anderson Cooper is staying put as host of “AC360” starting at 8 p.m.
“CNN is transferring deck chairs round on Titanic,” mentioned a media insider, who famous that the strikes “received’t assist CNN out of its scores stoop.”