When I first heard that Donna Brazile was publishing a book I’ll confess that I was more than a little skeptical. I assumed that she would have very little to say which would be of interest to anyone except party cheerleaders since she wouldn’t want to burn any bridges. All I can say now is, boy… did I miss the call on that one. We have no way of knowing how many of the revelations in the upcoming memoir are true (she hasn’t exactly established a track record as an honest person), but she’s managing to upset the entire power structure of her party. That’s a solid formula for building buzz and selling books, so well played there, madam.
One of the next bits coming to light is her memories of feeling very upset and betrayed by CNN’s Jake Tapper. This is one of the most curious claims out of a pack of stories which already warp the imagination. It all has to do with the moment which eventually proved her downfall. That came when leaked emails revealed that she had been sending debate questions to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in advance to give her a leg up on Bernie Sanders. But somehow, at least in the version of the story she’s telling herself, Jake Tapper was the one who was acting inappropriately.
Brazile, a former CNN contributor, recalled in her new book when emails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta showed that she relayed information about possible topics that would be brought up during the Democratic primary debate hosted by her network.
“The next day, even Jake Tapper took a swing at me, calling me unethical and ‘journalistically horrifying’ during a radio interview with WMAL even though I worked for CNN as a commentator not a journalist,” Brazile wrote in her book Hacks: The Insider Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House. “When I called him on this, he did not apologize. His attack on me was really about him. He wrote in an email, ‘I don’t know what happened here except it undermines the integrity of my work and CNN … you have to know how betrayed we all feel.'”
Brazile continued, “The feeling is mutual, my friend.”
Just as a refresher, we were digging into that story behind the scenes from the moment it came to light and I had some personal experience with it. First of all, the interview in question where Tapper gave the remark about “unethical and journalistically horrifying” was conducted by Larry O’Connor, who was also writing for Hot Air at the time. It first came out on his show on WMAL and was first in print here. Further, I was in touch with a source who was involved with both Tapper’s show and the charity event where Brazile attempted to pass off questions a second time.
All I can say is that she’s really giving Jake Tapper the short end of the stick here. He repeatedly told people that he had always had nothing but respect for Donna Brazile and that was probably why he found the whole sordid mess so shocking. But until clarification was offered, her actions could still reflect badly on CNN. But the fact is that Roland Martin (or someone at TV One) gave her the questions and it was only Roland who asked the questions revealed in the email. The questions Tapper asked during the debate never showed up in the emails.
In that sense, if anyone was owed an apology, Brazile could have used her highly publicized book to apologize to Jake and his network, not carp about not receiving an apology from them. As to the language he used in that interview which seems to have upset her so much, well… that’s fairly mild. Her grounds for objecting are also curious. She’s bothered that she was called “unethical” but saying that she was a “commentator, not a journalist” does not in any way lessen the ethical shortcomings of rigging a presidential primary debate. Tapper was clearly “horrified” at the implications of someone speaking on CNN’s stage acting in such a fashion, and for good reason.
In the end, this one isn’t so much a revelation as a rewriting of history and an opportunity to bash someone who hurt her feelings by telling the truth. But sour grapes make for headlines and help sell books I suppose.