CNN anchor Jake Tapper has condemned the Biden administration’s suggestion that journalists who don’t trust their claims are siding with terrorists and foreign powers. The US government, he said, has a long history of “lying to the American people.”
Two separate incidents sparked Tapper’s condemnation. On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked for evidence to prove that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi detonated himself with a suicide device during a raid by US special forces. Psaki suggested that the reporter was implying that the US military was “not providing accurate information,” while “ISIS is providing accurate information.”
On Tuesday, State Department spokesman Ned Price was asked for evidence to support US claims that Russia is preparing to stage a ‘false flag’ attack as pretext to invade Ukraine. Price offered no evidence, but accused the reporter of doubting “the credibility of the US government” and finding “solace in the information the Russians are putting out” instead.
On ‘The Lead with Jake Tapper’ on Thursday, the CNN anchor pushed back against this line from the government.
“What the Biden administration is doing here is saying to journalists, whose jobs are to be skeptical…’Oh, so you side with our enemies?’”
CNN contributor Abby Phillip then cited last August’s drone strike in Kabul, which the administration originally said targeted IS members but actually killed only civilians, as an example of why journalists should question the government’s claims.
“There’s a long history in this country that long predates the existence of everybody at this table…of the US Government lying to the American people,” Tapper said. “Lying for the right reasons maybe, or because they had the wrong information or they’re backing their guys, but it is our job to challenge.”
CNN consistently challenged the Trump administration, with reporter Jim Acosta regularly starting verbal sparring matches with Trump during press briefings. However, the network has been accused of giving the Biden administration an easy ride, and its hosts were ridiculed by conservatives for their coverage of Biden’s electoral victory, in which its hosts wept tears of joy and hailed the ‘healing’ that the Democrat would bring to the country.
One year later, some of the elation has worn off. Tapper described Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in August as “disastrous,” his co-hosts compared the hasty withdrawal to the fall of Saigon and suggested that Biden “must feel humiliated.” Since then, Biden’s claims have been ‘fact checked’, he’s been hounded over inflation and crime, and the network has even proposed a list of alternative candidates should the 79-year-old president decide not run for another term.