Jake Tapper Concedes Media's Bias on Obama Medal of Honor Gaffe, Double Standard on Bachmann

ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper appeared on the June 27 edition of Dennis Miller's radio show and conceded to a media blackout of Barack Obama's Medal of Honor gaffe. (The President confused a living recipient with the deceased Jared Monti who died in combat.)

Tapper admitted that the President made "a big uncomfortable mistake." He added, "And I don't think that that got the same kind of coverage as, you know, when Sarah Palin got Paul Revere's ride-" Tapper's right. His own network, ABC, as well as CBS and NBC have skipped the Monti story.

Tapper was away when the Medal of Honor story initially broke, but he, thus far, has since ignored it, although he did cover it online (while still on vacation). Additionally, while the journalist had generic criticism for "the media," he certainly didn't take ABC specifically to task.

[MP3 audio here]

Miller critiqued, "Well, you guys gotta work that out in house. But, I will tell you, you're not- the herd's not fooling anybody out here."

Tapper at one point seemed on the verge of admitting the media liberal bias. He allowed, "But the question is, okay, and removing the ideological bias, and I don't- do not generally disagree that there is-" Unfortunately, Miller interrupted him.

The White House correspondent (see file photo at right) attempted to shift the issue to one of sexism, suggesting that Hillary Clinton dealt with much harsher criticism than Obama. However, Good Morning America, where Tapper frequently appears, fawned over both.

On the January 18, 2007 edition of that show, Clare Shipman summed up the Democratic battle as one between Clinton's "hot factor" and Obama's "fluid poetry."

An August 29, 2007, a Media Research Center study found Tapper to be wrong on this larger point of anti-Hillary bias. The MRC's Rich Noyes wrote:

The top Democratic candidates received much more favorable coverage than their GOP counterparts, with Senator Clinton cast as "unbeatable" and Illinois Senator Barack Obama tagged as a "rock star." The most prominent Republican, Arizona Senator John McCain, was portrayed as a loser because of his support for staying the course in Iraq.

A transcript of Tapper's June 27 appearance on Dennis Miller can be found below:

[Tapper moving off a question about Chris Wallace and the "flake" comment.]

JAKE TAPPER: I do think that there is a question, and we were talking about this in our newsroom earlier today, I think there is a question about whether we are tougher, we meaning the media writ large, the Borg, that we are tougher on women candidates than we are on men, because I have to say, you know, anytime Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann, you know, misplaces an adjective-

DENNIS MILLER: Sure.

TAPPER: -we know about it and we cover it in the media. And, you know, this thing that the President did, and, obviously it was a mistake and he didn't mean to, but last week when he misidentified- he's given two Medals of Honor. And he was at the 10th Mountain at Fort Drum and he mistakenly said that he had given one to Sargent First Class Jared Monti when actually Monti was the one of the two Medals of Honor he's given that was given posthumously. Monti died in Gowardesh, northeast Afghanistan in 2006. That's a big, uncomfortable mistake.

MILLER: Huge. Yeah, yeah.

TAPPER:   And I don't think that that got the same kind of coverage as, you know, when Sarah Palin got Paul Revere's ride-

MILLER: Well, it's not even an "I don't think" and "we have to ask the question," Jake, you're in a herd up there. You're one of the guys on the fringes of that herd who has to play with the herd, but is also an individual. So, I admire you for that. But, you know the answer to these in your inner sanctum-sanctorum. Nobody's going to say it up there, but of course they're tougher on women. And they're even tougher on Republican women. And most of them are predisposed to be liberal and it's obvious all of us. And they're playing some in-house game where they go, "no, no." But, listen, we're on to the whole thing.

TAPPER: But, they were tougher- I'm not disagreeing with anything- or agreeing- with anything they just said. But, I think they were also tougher- the media was also tougher on Hillary Clinton than they were on Barack Obama or John Edwards, who, by the way, you know, was up to no good. I don't know if you read the papers.

MILLER: Yeah. Well, you guys gotta work that out in house. But, I will tell you, you're not- the herd's not fooling anybody out here. You guys can do what you want with it. Either steer into one lane and just say, "Yeah! We're liberal. This is what we do. Shut up." Not you. But a bunch of them. Or just say, "No, no. We are completely jaded" and apologize for it. We're onto it! We see it.

TAPPER: But the question is, okay, and removing the ideological bias, and I don't- do not generally disagree that there is-

MILLER: Yeah, it's about 85 to 90 percent of the reporters.

TAPPER: I don't know what it is.

MILLER: Yeah, I do.

TAPPER: But, in any case, why is it do you think it is that people were tougher on- and I'm not disagreeing with the idea that people- but there's no reason why the Medal of Honor mistake should have gotten less attention than Michele Bachmann-

MILLER: Because liberals don't like individual members of the disenfranchised class to save themselves. That's their raison d'etre.

TAPPER: But, why tougher on Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama during the primaries in 2008? Why that? Was it being fed up with the Clintons?

MILLER: Mmmm. Yeah, I guess he was the new thing, right?

TAPPER: I also think- if you look back at some of the coverage back then, some of it was fairly sexist against Hillary Clinton.

MILLER: Yeah, but it's easier to be perceived sexist than to be perceived racist. You know that. There's a grievance chart over there and everybody knows that the biggest dime you can get dropped on you is an accusation of racism. For God's sake, Bill Clinton went from being the first black president, coming out of South Carolina when he got pissed off and questioned something, to have the race card dime dropped on him. So, it can happen to anyone at anytime. Would you rather have them say you're sexist or racist?

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org