Watch Out for Shenanigans From CNN Debate Moderators Tapper and Bash!

June 24th, 2024 9:45 AM


Watch out for shenanigans on Thursday night from CNN’s debate moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash! Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden — by rule — can have their microphones muted if they go over time.

But who can mute Tapper and Bash when they talk over Trump and hit him with unfair and slanted questions? 

Based on their reporting and analysis over the years at CNN, Republican supporters of Trump should expect Tapper and Bash to question not just his policy positions, but his judgment and even behavior. 

Both had harsh reviews for Trump’s performance after the first presidential debate in 2020. 

Tapper blasted Trump: “That was a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck….worst debate I have ever seen….it’s primarily because of President Trump.” Bash agreed: “You just took the words out of my mouth. You used some high-minded language. I’m just going to say it like it is: that was a shitshow!”

On Election Night 2020, Tapper provided a nasty epitaph to Trump’s presidency: “For tens of millions of our fellow Americans, their long national nightmare is over.”

On the other hand, both have profusely praised Biden. 

After Biden’s 2024 State of the Union Address, Tapper prompted his colleague: “Dana Bash, what did you think? You’ve been to a lot of State of the Union addresses. Do you think that President Biden met the moment?” Bash giddily affirmed: “He certainly met the moment….[Democrats] wanted him to be a fighter and….did he deliver.”

Bash can’t believe Biden isn’t trouncing Trump, even bringing Rep. Nancy Pelosi on her show to incredulously ask: “Inflation, it looks good when you look at the numbers….Wages are up….There’s a lot for President Biden to tout. So the question is about why Americans don’t seem to be giving him the credit?”

Here’s a brief montage by NewsBusters Media Editor Bill D’Agostino of Tapper and Bash at their worst: 



The following is a small sampling of the most liberal moments of Tapper and Bash’s time at CNN, via the MRC archives: 



“Dumpster Fire” “Shitshow” Debate Was Trump’s Fault



CNN State of the Union host Jake Tapper: “That was a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck. That was the worst debate I have ever seen. In fact, it wasn’t even a debate. It was a disgrace. And it’s primarily because of President Trump, who spent the entire time interrupting not abiding by the rules he agreed to, lying, maliciously attacking the son of the Vice President.”…
Correspondent Dana Bash: “You just took the words out of my mouth. You used some high-minded language. I’m just going to say it like it is: that was a shitshow!”...
Tapper: “The President does not think he’s going to win this election. And he wants to bring the rest of us down with him.”
— CNN’s Debate Night in America, September 29, 2020.


Biden “Met the Moment”



CNN anchor Jake Tapper: “Dana Bash, what did you think? You’ve been to a lot of State of the Union addresses. Do you think that President Biden met the moment?”
CNN anchor Dana Bash: “He certainly met the moment that his members of his party, those who are really upset and worried about this coming election year and frankly, what would happen if he didn’t win another time because of their concerns about who’s on the other side of the ticket. They wanted him to be a fighter and — boy — fight, did he deliver.”
— CNN’s live coverage of the State of the Union address, March 7, 2024.


“Unfortunately for America” Supreme Court Ruled Trump Can Stay on CO Ballot



“Unfortunately for America the Court isn’t necessarily wrong that this is the way the Framers wanted it to be. They wanted Congress, the people who are closest to their constituents, to be able to make the rules and the laws.”
— CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash on CNN Newsroom with Jim Acosta, March 4, 2024.


Bash Takes Advice From Barbara Streisand On Not Running Anti-Biden “Cheap Fakes” 



“When I say ‘it,’ it is a lot of memes and what the White House is calling ‘cheap fakes,’ which means that these — there are videos that are being put out on social media and then amplified on conservative media that in some cases are just not right and in other cases are highly, highly misleading of President Biden and….I don’t want to let a moment go by where I can read a tweet from Barbara Streisand on the show. So, I’m going to do it, she said, ‘We must stay vigilant to the ongoing and pervasive spread of misinformation. Maybe now more than usual, in the lead up to the presidential election.’ And her argument was don’t amplify it. It is interesting given the fact that there was a famous case where somebody took a picture of her house in Malibu and she sued to not have that shown and then it turned out that people started looking at the picture more than before. So, it’s the question that I started this conversation with is how much to talk about it versus how much to just kind of ignore it and we’re trying to do both here.”
— Dana Bash on CNN’s Inside Politics, June 19, 2024. 


Blaming Trump Rhetoric for New Zealand Shooting



“The question is can he [President Trump] and will he do more to bring together – try to bring together people. That’s the opposite of what we saw in Charlottesville and it is the opposite of what we see when the political calendar gets close to election day. When he knows what riles up his base and the problem is riling up the base using terms like ‘invaders’ in ads that he tweets out also reaches people who are nut jobs.”
— Chief political correspondent Dana Bash discussing New Zealand shooting as aired on CNN New Day, March 15, 2019.


Taken Aback by Trump’s “Flip Comment” at Debate

“Not to sound too corny, but what makes this country different from countries with dictators in Africa or Stalin or Hitler or any of those countries with dictators and totalitarian leaders, is that when they took over, they put their opponents in jail. To hear one presidential candidate, say — even if it was a flip comment, which it was — ‘you’re going to be in jail’ to another presidential candidate on the debate stage in the United States of America, stunning, just stunning.”
— Correspondent Dana Bash during post-presidential debate coverage on CNN, October 9, 2016.


Should Trump Receive Intelligence Briefings? 

“I want to ask about the idea that Donald Trump is now the presumptive Republican nominee for president. U.S. intelligence agencies are reportedly preparing to share classified briefings with him. You’re, of course, a former ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, Speaker of the House. Should Donald Trump receive intelligence briefings?”
— Host Dana Bash to Rep. Nancy Pelosi on CNN’s State of the Union, March 17, 2024.


Not Even D-Day Ceremony Is Safe From Superfluous Attacks on Trump



“What you have described and what we saw from President Biden on this [D-Day] trip clearly intentionally, not just sending a message to the world that is first and foremost, his goal, but also back here in the U.S., cautioning about the fragility of democracy and it was quite a contrast from what we heard from the former President, his rival, to take the White House again, Donald Trump.”
— Host Dana Bash to Rep. Nancy Pelosi on CNN’s Inside Politics, June 7, 2024.


Inflation “Looks Good,” Why Isn’t the Public Giving Biden Credit? 



“I want to ask about the economy. Inflation, it looks good when you look at the numbers. Inflation is down to just 3 percent. The labor market is steadily adding jobs. Wages are up. Consumer sentiment is the highest since September of 2021. So there’s, a lot for President Biden to tout. So the question is about why Americans don’t seem to be giving him the credit. A Quinnipiac poll this week found nearly six in 10 Americans still disapprove of his handling of the economy. Why is that? And what does he have to do to turn that around?”
— Host Dana Bash to Rep. Nancy Pelosi on CNN’s State of the Union, July 23, 2023. 


Bash Worries that Democrats May Suffer From GOP’s  “Baseless” Attacks On DOJ



“Leigh Ann, is it your sense that Democrats who are on the front line, which is when it comes to getting majority back, whether they believe that these attacks on DOJ, these claims, baseless claims that the DOJ is behind, for example, what happened in New York is potent enough to hurt not just President Biden, but down-ballot.”
— Host Dana Bash to Washington Post Live’s Leigh Ann Caldwell as aired on CNN Inside Politics with Dana Bash, June 5, 2024. 


Trying to Provoke a GOP Food Fight: Did Trump “Go Too Far?”

“Governor Bush, Mr. Trump has suggested that your views on immigration are influenced by your Mexican born wife. He said that, quote, ‘If my wife were from Mexico, I think I would have a soft spot for people from Mexico.’ Did Mr. Trump go too far in invoking your wife?”
— CNN debate moderator Dana Bash to Gov. Jeb Bush at GOP Primary Debate, September 16, 2015


Bash to Ramaswamy: How Dare You Point Out Democratic Racism?



“You took issue with comments from Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. She reportedly said, quote, ‘We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice.’ About that, you said, ‘These are the words of the modern grand wizards of the modern KKK.’ You know, I’m sure, the KKK was responsible for more than a century’s worth of horrific lynchings, rapes, murders of black people. How in any way are the views you’re talking about comparable to the views and atrocities committed by the KKK?”
— Host Dana Bash to GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy on CNN’s State of the Union, September 10, 2023.


Praising “Badass” Pelosi

“In many ways, Nancy Pelosi is the original Badass Woman of Washington.” 
— November 13, 2018 tweet (from CNN’s official Twitter account) promoting correspondent Dana Bash interview with Rep. Nancy Pelosi.


Adoring AOC



“Being Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez means being a celebrity and looking like one, red lips and all. She was featured on the cover of Vanity Fair in 2020 and even shot this tutorial for Vogue on her beauty routine....You sometimes take heat for your celebrity status, for being glamorous....You embrace the power?...How do you use that power, the power of femininity, as you describe it?”
— Host Dana Bash on CNN’s Being...AOC, August 9, 2021.




Trump Era of  “Cruelty” and “Meanness” Is “Coming to an End” 



“It has also been a time of extreme divisions. Many of the divisions caused and exacerbated by President Trump himself....It has been a time where truth and fact were treated with disdain. It is a time of cruelty where official inhumanities such as child separation became the official shameful policy of the United States. But now the Trump presidency is coming to an end, to an end, with so many squandered opportunities and ruined potential, but also an era of just plain meanness. It must be said to paraphrase President Ford, for tens of millions of our fellow Americans, their long national nightmare is over.”
— Host Jake Tapper on CNN election coverage, November 7, 2020.


Tapper Likens Trump Comments to Hitler



Host Jake Tapper: “Leading this hour, with four weeks until Iowans cast the nation’s first votes in the 2024 presidential race, the dehumanizing rhetoric of Adolf Hitler is once again alive and well on the national political stage. This time, of course, in the United States, this time, given life by former president and current Republican presidential front runner, Donald Trump, whose thoughts on immigrants were made shockingly crystal clear over the weekend.”
[Clip of Donald Trump]
Tapper: “South America, Africa, Asia. No mention of Europe in Mr. Trump’s list. And he uses the term ‘poisoning the blood of our country.’ ‘Poisoning the blood of our country.’ If you were to open up a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, you would find the Nazi leader describing the mixing of non-Germans with Germans as poisoning. ‘The Jew,’ Hitler wrote, quote, ‘poisons the blood of others.’ This, according to Hitler, posed an existential threat to Germany because, quote, ‘all great cultures of the past perished only because the originally creative race died out from blood poisoning,’ unquote. There’s really no other way to say it. Donald Trump’s language mirrors this directly….It was rhetoric. Mere words, but it dovetailed nicely with a very racist, great replacement theory that Jews are funding migrants to come to the United States to replace the white people of the United States. It’s a sick, twisted conspiracy theory. But they’re just words, right? A conspiracy theory, just words. But they become, to some sick minds, calls to action and right in the middle of that campaign. October 27th, 2018. the Tree of Life synagogue massacre. Eleven Jews killed. The deadliest, deadliest attack on Jewish Americans in the United States history. But even that shooting did not stop Trump from continuing to fuel these deranged rumors. Just days later, he suggested that wealthy financier George Soros, who is Jewish, may have been actually paying for the migrant caravan. No record of this. No proof of this. But he said it anyway.”
[Clip of Trump]...
Tapper: “Rhetoric inspired bloodshed meanwhile continued. So that was 2018. Flash forward, August 3rd, 2019. The El Paso Walmart shooting, 23 people killed. And this sick white replacement theory continues. May 14th, 2022, the supermarket shooting in Buffalo, New York, 10 killed. All of those murders were inspired by these mere words. As my friend and colleague Van Jones points out, presidents have a way of calling the American people to act. John F. Kennedy called us to serve. Ask not what your country can do for you. Called us to serve. He formed the Peace Corps. Ronald Reagan ushered in an era of national pride and patriotism. What exactly is Donald Trump calling us to do?”
— CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, December 18, 2023.


When Did Airing “Untrue Things” Stop CNN Before?

“We’re not carrying his [Donald Trump] remarks live because frankly he says a lot of things that are not true and sometimes potentially dangerous.”
— Host Jake Tapper on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, June 13, 2023.


If He’s “Fighting for Facts and Truth Everyday” at CNN, Then He’s Been Losing

“One of the important things in journalism that we can do is remember that we are fighting for the legitimacy of journalism and fighting for facts and truth everyday, everytime we step up to the bat — step up to the plate and it is important that we get it right. Because we are, I think, in a way that I haven’t been in my 55 years, really fighting for the soul of journalism and fighting for trust.”
— CNN anchor Jake Tapper at “The Vocation of Journalists in a Time of Testing: Lessons from David Carr. Jake Tapper, Erik Wemple, Claire Giangrave, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Amanda Ripley, John Carr” live stream event at Georgetown University, June 18, 2024.


Boffo Review for Biden Convention Speech



“I’ve heard Joe Biden give, I don’t know, dozens, hundreds of speeches over the years. I have to say this was one of the best, if not the best performance I’ve ever seen.”
— Host Jake Tapper on CNN’s live coverage of the Democratic National Convention, August 20, 2020.


Hailing a Republican (Jeff Flake) For Standing Up to Trump

“You know Joe McCarthy started in the late forties his crusade of indecency and smears and lies. And you know President Trump and Joe McCarthy are very different historical figures, but there is something similar....People are gonna look back at this era and say what were you doing with all – it’s not McCarthyism but it’s something else – all this indecency and all these lies, what did you do during that time?” 
— CNN host Jake Tapper discussing former Sen. Jeff Flake’s denunciations of Trump as aired on CBS’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert, October 24, 2017.


Tapper Questions Disabled Vet’s “Commitment” After No Impeachment Vote



“Congressman Brian Mast, a Republican from Florida, who lost his legs, by the way, fighting for democracy abroad, although I don’t know what his — I don’t know about his commitment to it here in the United States.”
— CNN anchor Jake Tapper during live impeachment coverage, January 13, 2021.