Tapper on Press Conference Kerfuffle: Obama 'Went to War Against Fox News'

January 17th, 2017 10:33 AM

CNN’s Jake Tapper was Seth Meyers’ guest on Monday night’s Late Night, where he talked about Trump’s relationship with the press. More specifically, last week’s press conference, where Trump refused to call on CNN reporter Jim Acosta, calling his outlet “fake news.” Meyers tried to get Tapper to hype up the incident as unique to Trump’s (near) presidency, but Tapper explained that Obama has done the exact same thing.

While many networks have been hyperventilating about freedom of the press after last week’s incident they conveniently seem to have forgotten that our current president has also refused to call on certain media outlets during press conferences. Tapper brought up this fact to Meyers after Meyers asked Tapper if the press was going to “unite” to pressure Trump to answer questions:

SETH MEYERS: And you know I think there's this idea now -- is the press going to have to sort of like work as one unit to combat what seems to be the strategy that the Trump administration is going to use with dealing with the press? Is it feasible to think of the press with all their disparate ideas and all the different ways they approach reporting on the news can actually work as one? Or is that sort of fanciful?

TAPPER: Well it's a little fanciful, because we compete against each other. But by the same token, if a reporter asks a legitimate question and doesn't get an answer, and then the Press Secretary or the President, whomever, calls on someone else to try to change the subject, which happens all the time.


TAPPER:I remember when I was the White House Correspondent for ABC News and President Obama did that. He didn't answer somebody's question, he called on me. I said, ‘Well, I have a question but can you answer Bennett's question first? I'd love if you answered that.’ And he's like, ‘What are you, the ombudsman of the Press Corps?’ [ Light laughter ]

After some joking back and forth, Meyers asked if everybody “should have gotten up and left” as protest for Trump not answering Acosta’s question. Tapper again brought up that this wasn’t the first time the president has ignored certain press outlets he didn’t like. The Obama White House went to war against Fox News,” Tapper explained.

TAPPER: Well, this is one of the things that happened during the first Obama term -- and I'm not saying these things are equivalent. The Obama White House went to war against Fox News and they tried to say that the entire organization was illegitimate. And it wasn't you know, ‘This anchor is a jerk’ or ‘This story is a lie’ or whatever. It was this entire organization, including hundreds of reporters and producers who are just doing honest work, people I knew, Major Garrett, Bret Baier. People who are good reporters. When they were doing that I challenged them for that. Specifically because it's an important principle to stand up for. We're all supposed to be in this together. You can't just like say well, CNN -- if you're with an organization that's not CNN and you watch them just destroy us or try to destroy us, just because they don't like the story, which, is again, proven to be completely true, then you're next.

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