Jake Tapper - How CNN Is Taking On the Trump Administration - Extended Interview

March 1, 2017 - Jake Tapper 03/01/2017 Views: 77,657

Jake Tapper, host of "The Lead" on CNN, weighs in on being called a purveyor of "fake news" by President Trump and discusses the partisan divide over facts. (11:31)

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Please welcome Jake Tapper!

-♪ -(cheering and applause)

-Welcome to the show,Jake Tapper. -Thank you, sir.

It's nice to be here.

"The face of fake news."

Are you... That bothers youbecause you're the face

-of fake news.-You know what, I-I...

I'm bothered by it 'causeyou're muscling in on my turf.

-I know. I'm sorry.-I don't appreciate that.

But-but, uh,on-on the real though,

what are you going throughright now?

Because it is not very often

that, as journalists,as a media organization,

you get to be the faceor, as Donald Trump calls it,

the enemy of the people.How does that feel right now?

Well, calling us the enemyof the people is just nuts.

I mean, we're-we're the media.We're the fourth estate.

We have a tradition of, uh,

-being one of the watchdogsover people in power. -Yeah.

Um, I think he is hostileto any check or balance.

We see that most with the media,

um, but he has expressed

the same basic feelingtowards the judicial branch

when they try to, uh, hem himon the... on the travel ban,

when...And the legislative branch,

when-whenever a senator sayssomething that he doesn't like,

he's expressed-- orthe White House has expressed--

concern about it. So, I mean,

I thinkthat's really what's going on.

What's interestingabout the term "fake news" is,

as you know,this is a real thing.

There are-- sometimes fed by theRussians or other governments--

-lies, storiesthat are just not true -Yeah.

about a pizzeria in Washingtonwhere they torture children,

and it's all tiedto the Clintons.

I mean, just nonsense.Crazy stuff.

That's fake news.

The president and the WhiteHouse have used the term

to apply to storiesthey don't like.

The president actually saidat one point,

"Any negative poll is fake."

-(murmuring, chuckling)-He said that. -Which is right.

-He's right.-(laughter)

I agree with that.

And, in fact, today,

-uh, you saw... you-you,uh, ran the-the CBS poll. -Yep.

CNN had a similar poll. Uh...

A majority of people who watchedthe speech liked the speech.

-Yes.-58% in our poll.

And The White House presssecretary put out the CNN poll.

Well, yeah,but here's the question...

Not fake, because it's positive.

Here's the question I have,though, and this is interesting.

Going back to CNN.

You are a journalist.

You know, you are a news anchor.

I don't understandhow so many people were so quick

to say this is a pivotto presidential.

I genuinely do notunderstand that.

How do you see that,

and how do you fallfor the same trap so many times?

Well, I didn't say thatlast night. Um...

-(applause and cheering)-No, I know you didn't.

I'm saying that your peers...

It was, um, as you note,

in the show today, uh,

-it was a fine speechand a decent performance. -Yeah.

Um, the policiesand the positions

that he holds are as,if not more important, I think.

And the fact is that someof the things

he has said and done have beencompletely contrary

to the ideals and aspirationsthat he voiced in the speech.

-Mm-hmm.-I mean, he, um, for instance...

he condemned wholeheartedly,

passionatelyand eloquently the hate crimes.


That's howhe started the speech.

It was really nice.

-It was a little late in coming.-(laughter)

It was literallya year ago yesterday

that I interviewed himand tried to get him

-to, uh, distance himself...-Yes.

...from the Ku Klux Klanand David Duke.

Yes, and I think I rememberthat, and he was like,

"I don't... I don't even...

I don't know about that.I don't know about that."

You're asking meto condemn groups.

-Yes. -I don't know about them.I don't know who they are.

And it was, like, the KKK.

And I was just like,"It's David Duke."

-(laughter) -(like Trump):"I don't know. I don't know."

-It's David...-"There are many Ks in my world.

-I don't know, Jake.I don't know." -(laughter)

So my only point is, like,

that would have beena good moment for...

Him to condemn that.

..."We condemn hateand evil in any sort."

I mean, it's really honestly,

the easiest questionin politics is,

"Will you condemnthe Ku Klux Klan?"


-It's not a tough one. -Can Iask you an honest question?

How do you not laugh sometimes?

You know,one of my favorite lines

Donald Trump saidto you ever was,

"Jake, Jake, Jake,we're gonna build a wall, Jake."

And you were like,"How are you gonna build it?"

And he's like, "We're gonnabuild it, Jake. Jake. Jake."

And then he made you looklike the crazy person.

-(laughter) -Like you were...He was like,

"Hey, what part of 'builda wall' don't you understand?"

How do you...? Like, your faceis completely straight

-in those moments.-(laughter)

How, Jake?How are you keeping...?

And, on a larger note,

how are you keepinga straight face as the media?

How do you not get angry?How do you not...?

Like, do you... do you haveto work to compose yourself

and go,"We are the Fourth Estate,

we are the news, I'm trying toremain impartial and truthful"?

Well, first of all,on the face thing,

-a lot of Botox. So, um...-(laughter)


I can't...

Um... the truthof the matter is,

uh, that...

it's not partisan

to want facts and the truth.

And it's not partisanto expect decency

from people,and especially our leaders.

And it's weird whenI feel like I take a stand

in any small wayin favor of just, like...

"Can we just tell the truthabout such and such?"

Or... "It's not acceptableto make fun of disabled people."

-Mm-hmm.-It's just not.

-(applause)-I mean...


And it's weird to me

when anyone construes thatas partisan,

because I have the sameexpectations of behavior

for everybody-- I don't carewhat party they belong to.

Well, more especially,the commander-in-chief.

-Yeah. -Do you ever getto the place where you go,

maybe the mediais operating in a space

where they're not acknowledgingwhat has now changed?

Because I watch news anchors...

sometimes breezethrough the information...

you know, like, people...the phrasing people will use

is they'll go:Donald Trump said this,

but the evidence suggeststhe opposite.

-Right.-Which means he lied.

Like, why do... why donews anchors not say that?

Like, are we living in a worldwhere the news

almost hasn't adaptedto deal with the...

the situationthe way it is right now?

Well, I have been tryingto do fact-checks

for years and years and years,on President Obama,

on Hillary Clinton, on candidateTrump and President Trump.


this is a different world of it,

because it started with,I think,

um, the day that he accusedTed Cruz's... Ted Cruz's father

of somehow being connectedto the Kennedy assassination.

Yes. 'Cause he wasin the picture.

I saw him.


You saw it, too.

Yeah, I saw it.

You were there.

I was there, Jake.

It was in Soweto.

So I remember,I came out that day

-and I just, like, dida fact check on it. -Yeah.

And by the way, I was defendingTed Cruz,

so this wasn't like someliberal position.

It's just like, you know,

Ted Cruz's dadwas not associated

with the Kennedy assassination.

Does that--That makes me liberal

for having that position is--

I don't even know what worldwe're in.

But I-I think that you're right

in the sense that--

Well, first of all,

there isn't enough calling outof these things,

and there needs to be.

But second of all, I do thinksometimes people in the media

actually, maybe becauseof the deficit here,

and sort of the factsand the fact-checking,

sometimes on Twitteror whatever,

they go the opposite directionand they're hysterical,

-because... you know?-Oh, interesting.

And I think, you know, we needto have a happy medium

where we are calling out thingsthat are not true,

covering things that--for instance,

the stock market rallied today.

It probably had a lot to dowith his speech last night,

-and things that investorswere happy to hear. -Yes.

That's fine to report.

You don't have to be afraidto report something positive

about Trump--I'm not talking to you.

But, you know, becauseit's positive to him...

Oh, I'm not afraid;it was a great speech.

-You love the speech.-The speech was good.

You want the speechto be president.

I think it was a good speech.

-I would vote for that speechfor president. -Yeah.

That's what I'm saying.

I'd vote for that speech.

So I do think the media--

I think we're allstill kind of trying

to find our sea legs here.

I do thinkthat you're right, though,

that there needsto be an adaptation

to this reality where...

Look, maybe last night was it,

and when he said towards the endof the speech,

-it's time to putsmall fights aside, -Yes.

it's time to puttrivial matters aside.

While pointing at the Democrats,but whatever, I mean.

But you're allowedto have partisan fights.

-Maybe that was it.-Yeah.

I mean, maybe we're notgonna see any more

3:00 a.m. tweetsagainst Meryl Streep.

I mean, that's possible.

It's possible, and ifthat happens, God bless,

because I really would liketo focus on policy,

and the changes he's proposing,

'cause some of themare quite dramatic.

Talking about focusing then,if you-- before I let you go.

If you, um, if you arein this position as CNN,

he said-- Okay,Donald Trump said,

we're gonna put theselittle fights behind us.

But then immediately afterthe speech,

Mike Pence went on to allthe news stations to comment,

-and then nobody came to CNN.-Yeah.

-So, clearly the fight is not---You noticed.

Oh, I noticed, I noticed.

I was like, where's Pence?And he wasn't on your shows.

And so I then go, even ifthe fight isn't over,

as journalists, as CNN,can you still do your job

without accessto the presidency?

Do you need the presidentto say, come into my house,

and let me tell youwhat I'm doing?

Let me tell you something.

The idea that we needto have them come on our shows

and that we shouldcalibrate our coverage--

-that's... that's, uh, a by...from a bygone era. -Yes.

CNN is kicking ass. CNN is...-(cheering, applause)

We are covering...we are covering him fairly

and aggressively.We are breaking stories

about the investigationsinto him and his campaign.

We don't need access to them.

If they don'twant to come on our show,

they are giving up airtimeand to... and an audience

that wants to hear from them,but that's on them.

Um, ultimately, PresidentObama--

who declared war on Fox--ultimately he caved

and realized, "I need to talkto some of those people,"

and he would do interviewswith O'Reilly

-or Chris Wallace or whomever.-Yeah.

Ultimately, uh,the leaders ultimately...

generally realizethey need to come to us.

We don't need them to come.They're passing it up.

They're passing upthat opportunity.

But you're rightto say that the, uh, area...

the era of trivial mattersis over.

(imitates Mr. Magoo): "But we'restill gonna boycott CNN."

I mean, that's, um...

No one said itin a Mr. Magoo voice.

-That's not fair. -You couldhave... you could have said,

"Anonymous sources told me...

(imitates Mr. Magoo):...we're gonna boycott CNN."

-That was...-You could have said that.

That was a Mr. Magoo voice.But I'm just saying, like,

I was trying to be...It was a petulance.

-It was a pet... It was...-See? It's fun. You can do this.

-You should comeand do this here. -No.

I will never be allowedto do the show again

after my petulance...But my point is you can't...

-you can't do it. Put thetrivial matters aside, -Yes.

let's be grown-ups,let's cover the changes

you want to bringto the country.

Absolutely,that's what I want to do.

-I agree with that. And thankyou so much. -Thank you so much.

-Thank you for doing the show.-(cheering, applause)

You can watch The Lead with Jake Tapper weekdays at 4:00 p.m.

and State of the Union onSundays at 9:00 a.m. and noon

-on CNN. Jake Tapper, everybody.-♪ -(cheering, applause)

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