CNN anchor Jake Tapper, who has frequently lectured Republicans about the Jan. 6 riot and grilled Trump-friendly lawmakers about recognizing President Biden as the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election, once wrote a book that seemed to cast doubt of the legitimacy of George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential election victory.
During the 2000 election, Tapper was the Washington correspondent for the leftwing news outlet Salon.com. In his book, “Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency,” Tapper wrote about the “players” involved in the political and legal maneuvering from both Bush and his defeated rival, Vice President Al Gore in the weeks following election night and what transpired behind the scenes in Florida.
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However, one of the most scathing reviews of Tapper’s book came from CNN.
Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of CNN’s book review, which headlined “‘Down and Dirty’ mild and overreaching.”
“If the reader isn’t prepared to relive the up-and-down, back-and-forth, ins-and-outs of the Florida recount, the best advice is, ‘Stay away from Jake Tapper,’” CNN writer L.D. Meagher wrote in his review of Tapper’s book.
Meagher wrote that Tapper, who at the time was an on-air panelist for the CNN program “Take 5,” wasn’t “shy about making judgments” about the players he spoke with for the book, insisting no one from Team Bush and Team Gore was playing it straight. But Meagher also insisted that Tapper didn’t “justify the title of his book.”
“The tactics employed by both candidates may have been something short of pristine ethically, but the author offers no evidence of ‘dirty’ dealings by either side,” Meagher explained. “Did political convictions color their actions? Of course. Did they break the law? Probably not. Was there a conspiracy by one candidate or the other to gain the White House by theft? If there was, Tapper offers nothing to prove it.”
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The CNN writer went on to knock the future CNN anchor for asserting in a postscript that “Whomever you think the subtitle of the book applies to, we [Americans] are the ones who let him try to steal the presidency,” saying Tapper’s comments are “disingenuous, at best.”
“Tapper does a credible job of exposing some of the shenanigans that were played by all parties during the Florida recount,” Meagher continued. “But he jeopardizes his credibility by making a promise he can’t keep. He isn’t going to unveil ‘a plot to steal the presidency,’ and he knows it. That makes him, at the end of the day, no better than the politicians, elected officials, lawyers and judges he excoriates in his book.”
Last month, Tapper repeatedly suggested that he refuses to invite any GOP lawmaker who fed into what he and other liberals have dubbed the “Big Lie,” which is the narrative that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from former President Trump. His blacklist apparently included all three leaders of the House Republican caucus and anyone who challenged President Biden‘s election victory. He often refers to these GOP lawmakers as “election liars.”
Tapper was confronted last week on Twitter. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and the press secretary for Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., called the CNN anchor out for claiming he wouldn’t invite such Republicans onto his programs after his staff had invited them to appear on his show.
Stefanik and Hawley press secretary Abigail Marone revealed screenshots of emails showing the two lawmakers receiving multiple requests to appear on Tapper’s shows “The Lead” and “State of the Union.”
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Tapper responded by seeming to shift the blame on his bookers, one of whom promised Stefanik that she could chat with the CNN anchor by phone prior to committing.
“I can’t account for every email from my excellent bookers whose job it is to present me with as many options as possible,” Tapper tweeted to Stefanik. “I have just refused to allow any of the Liars, such as Rep Stefanik, on air. Kind of stunning to see her proudly identify as a conspiracy theorist.”
He similarly told Hawley’s spokesperson, “And if the bookers had come to me and said he was an option I would have said no, as I have for every Election Liar. I only started explaining to them last month the reasons behind my saying no to every Big Liar. Weird to admit that your boss is an Election Liar but ok.”
Some critics mocked the CNN star for repeatedly falling back on his bookers for inviting guests he apparently did not want, accusing him of throwing his staff “under the bus.”
Other critics pointed to guests who Tapper has featured on his programs including Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who infamously claimed he had seen “evidence” of Russian collusion that never surfaced, Michael Avenatti, the disgraced anti-Trump lawyer who touted a “gang rape” allegation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation, and white nationalist Richard Spencer.
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However, no guest seems to undercut Tapper’s election integrity sanctimony than former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who has been invited onto his CNN programs numerous times despite never having conceded her 2018 defeat in Georgia.
When reached for comment, a CNN spokesperson pointed to Tapper’s tweets but did not address numerous inquiries from Fox News, specifically why Tapper’s staff would reach out to lawmakers who are apparently banned from his programs and why politicians like Abrams is apparently exempt from his “election liars” stance.