Tapper Bashes Matthews: It's Not Journalist's Job to Make Presidency Work
Is ABC's Jake Tapper the White House press corps' next David Gregory or journalism's anti-Chris Matthews?
Such questions were raised Tuesday in an interesting column about Tapper by the Daily Beast's Rachel Sklar.
Unlike virtually all the Obama-loving media, Tapper during last year's presidential campaign was very often a refreshing impartial voice willing to take shots at all the candidates including those with a "D" after their names and The One which was the object of so many's affection.
Tapper appears not only cognizant of the disgraceful sycophancy of colleagues like MSNBC's Chris Matthews, but also dismissive (h/t TVNewser):
There’s another chair that Tapper may be trying to fill: David Gregory’s. No less than three separate Washington political reporters spontaneously compared him to Gregory, who made his name being a thorn in the side of various White House press secretaries. “I think it’s safe to say that he's calculated, meaning that if he's being tough, it's likely because he sat down one day to say, ‘I want to be this administration's David Gregory,’" said one colleague on the D.C. political circuit. (Note where Gregory ended up.) Others have also compared him to Sam Donaldson, whose scrappy briefing-room questioning is still legendary. “[Tapper] works really hard, he's really smart, and he does have good questions that you just can't dismiss as showboating,” said another D.C.-based political reporter who has known Tapper for years. And while more than one other person also used the word “showboating,” a briefing-room colleague was a little more Zen: “It's too early to judge anyone... And I wouldn't get too worked up over the press briefings. Judge all of us on the reporting, analysis, and packages.” [...]
What does Tapper say? Though he declined to comment specifically on the Gibbs exchange, he did reply via email that he took his job very seriously, in part as a reaction to the rather permissive press corps of the last administration: “There's a big lesson for all of us—not just reporters, but the nation—in the need for a vigilant press that questions the decisions our leaders make, whether going to war or spending $800 billion on a stimulus package. I don't always live up to that lesson, but I try.” He also said that the job “still feels daunting and intimidating”—even if he doesn’t show it.
Tapper’s not the only toughie in the briefing room—there are cameras there, you know—but so far, he’s the one pushing the hardest. And if that makes Gibbs’ job tougher, oh well. Says Tapper: “I certainly don't think that it's the job of any journalist to make the presidency work.”
Was Tapper taking a swipe at Matthews with that comment? You decide: