Jake Tapper hammers Think Progress for publishing story it knew was false

One of the things that has become clear in the wake of Wikileaks dump of Podesta emails is that a lot of journalists have a very cozy—one could even say sycophantic— relationship with Democrats. We saw that with this email from Glenn Thrush:


And this one from John Harwood:


There’s more from Harwood but let’s not forget TVOne’s Roland Martin passing a question to CNN’s Donna Brazile who then passed it to Clinton’s team in advance.

There is one notable exception to this trend and his name is Jake Tapper. Back in May 2009, Think Progress (a site connected to the Center for American Progress) contacted Tapper about a story it was preparing. The story Think Progress wanted to tell was simple, in fact it literally had three simple steps:

  • Step one: “Right-Wing Radio Gives Corporate Hedge Funds A Venue To Attack Obama”
  • Step two: “Right-Wing Pressures White House Reporters To Take Up Its Attack”
  • Step three: “ABC’s Jake Tapper Picks It Up, Drudge Promotes It”

The problem is that the author of the piece knew steps one and two had no connection to step three before the story was published. We know this because Wikileaks released an email in which Tapper responded to TP’s request for clarification of how he learned about the story and why he decided to cover it. And, surprise, it did not involve listening to the pleas of right-wing radio hosts.


But Think Progress went ahead and published the piece anyway under the headline “Right-Wing Radio Successfully Gets ABC’s Jake Tapper To Take Up Its Attack Against Obama.” Here is Tapper’s understandably outraged response:

As I told you many times off the record, both in email and on the phone, the premise of your story is just false.

You nonetheless wrote it anyway, indicating quite clearly that you don’t care about accuracy or the truth in your reporting.

You wanted to push a narrative that I was used by the right wing media, so you wrote what you wrote regardless of the facts. That’s shoddy journalism, and it’s simply not reflective of the truth.

As I told you, I heard of Lauria’s claims when I overheard Ann Compton talking with someone at ABC News radio about Lauria’s interview. That was the last I heard of it.

I was interested in speaking with someone representing the hedge funds since President Obama spoke so strongly against them. Friday I was busy with Justice Souter’s story, so I didn’t get a chance to look into it.

On Saturday, I found Lauria’s interview on the WJR-AM website. I looked into Lauria, found him to be a credible voice, a leading bankruptcy attormey who indeed had represented the firm in question. Moreover, he had recently given $10,000 to the DSCC so he had no discernible partisan motives.

I reached out to the White House, they denied Lauria’s story, which we gave prominence in the story.

Nothing in your story about my reporting on this matter is accurate. No one pressured me, no one peddled anything to me, and no one reached out to me to cover this. Indeed, the first I heard of Mark Levin pushing this story was on your post.

The fact that you don’t mention Lauria’s giving money to Democrats is quite telling. This is inaccurate and you should be ashamed to have written it after I told you what happened.



If you visit the story now you’ll see there are 3 updates at the bottom including one from ABC denying the claims made in the post (which Think Progress already knew) and one about changing the misleading headline.

Yesterday someone on Twitter said Jake Tapper is the only journalists who looks better after the WikiLeaks dump of Podesta’s emails. I think that’s probably right.

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