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 method, transferring away from punditry that targeted on criticizing the Trump administration and conservatives to spice up rankings.
“Tapper is making an attempt to outlive,” mentioned a media supply. “He’s kowtowing to his bosses.”
“He’s very formidable” 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 fitting over faux information on his reveals “The Lead with Jake Tapper” and “State of the Union.” In 2018, the New York Instances 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 “faux information” by Trump.
However below Licht, the anchor has not too long ago made some uncharacteristic overtures to the fitting, 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 cut off a White House adviser who blamed high gasoline prices on Vladimir Putin. And final month, he shared an article on Twitter written by Salena Zito, a conservative columnist for the New York Put up and the Washington Examiner, in regards to the race for the US Senate seat in Pennsylvania.
“Jake drank the kool-aid,” considered 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 guide was eviscerated by the Instances and different reviewers, and the tweet precipitated some shops 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 troublesome however truthful interviewer who calls out nonsense and lies, no matter their supply. He has not been requested to vary nor would he. Anybody who truly watches CNN is aware of that.”
Tapper didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
If Tapper turns in sturdy rankings, 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 gentle 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 informed The Put up that Tapper had been angling for Cuomo’s anchor chair, however the slot was left vacant for almost a yr as new administration on the community’s company guardian 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 show, 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, nonetheless, hasn’t made any large hires since he arrived in Might. Insiders puzzled if he was unable to take any large swings as Warner Bros. Discovery is in slicing mode because it tries to make good on its promise to investors to find at least $3 billion in savings by 2023.
On Thursday, Licht set the remainder of its primetime lineup for the elections, saying it would 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 State of affairs 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 “gained’t assist CNN out of its rankings hunch.”