Accuracy in Media

CNN’s Jake Tapper pulled back the curtain on Democratic dissatisfaction with the “Squad,” and it did not go over well with some of his fellow media members.

Tapper unfurled a tweet thread Wednesday afternoon that began: “House Democrats appeared unified in their votes this week but I’ve spent the day talking to a bunch of them and many are extremely frustrated. All agree POTUS’s tweets needed to be condemned; they spoke under condition of anonymity so they could be candid.”

“‘The president won this one,’ said House Dem 1 of the Trump v Squad (AOC, Tlaib, Omar & Pressley) showdown. ‘What the president has done is politically brilliant. Pelosi was trying to marginalize these folks and the president has now identified the entire party with them.’”

A third tweet was a member, identified as House Dem 2, asking what Democrats are focused on no that will help the class of 2018 Democrats get re-elected. “’The president’s words and actions speak for themselves. We need to focus on the issues that got them here: jobs, health care …’” Tapper tweeted.

Other House Democrats, Tapper wrote, “are conflicted about having to defend the Squad given things they’ve said and done. House Dems cited: talk of supporting challengers to incumbent Dems in primaries, AOC’s use of the term ‘concentration camps,’ anti-Semitic comments by Tlaib & Omar.’”

Members were frustrated that the House voted to condemn Trump’s remarks, but “we couldn’t even bring ourselves to have a resolution exclusively condemning anti-Semitism uttered by one of those members” – Omar – “but we leapt to their defense here.”

They also said that the resolution just introduced by Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), two members of the Squad, to affirm the right of Americans to boycott, “perceived as an expression of support for the anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divest and sanction) movement that most House Dems oppose.” One House Democrat told Tapper that bill coming “from someone with a history of anti-Semitism – Omar – so yeah, it’s challenging.”

Others expressed frustration with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) chief of staff recruiting primary challengers to run against Democratic members deemed insufficiently leftist.

His comments led to a headline on Slate that read: “Jake Tapper Appears to Have Taken a Break From Truth-Telling.”

Author Ashley Feinberg questioned whether Tapper spoke to his anonymous sources at all.

“According to Tapper, he’d spent the day talking to a number of Democrats (all of whom he granted anonymity) who expressed frustration with the four freshman congresswomen known as ‘the Squad,’” Feinberg wrote. “… Here, Tapper never actually indicated how many Democrats he spoke to, simply saying that it was ‘a lot.’”

Feinberg wrote that Tapper gives more information in his Twitter thread than he did about his contacts during a panel discussion of the tweets on CNN. He said he was “providing quotes from at least four separate Democrats, two of whom he refers to as ‘Reps,’” she wrote. “Throughout the thread, Tapper repeats these anonymous Democrats’ rehashing of right-wing talking points: that Omar has a ‘history of anti-Semitism’ and that the four freshman congresswomen argued that moderate Democrats were ‘against human rights.’”

She then pointed out that her former boss, Alex Pareene of the New Republic, had tweeted at Tapper that “I assume you made every effort to get the targets of these comments to respond because you are a straight-shooting objective reporter and not simply carrying water for one side in a political fight, but you didn’t mention it because you didn’t want to do an unlucky 13th tweet.”

Tapper responded that the Squad members “are more likely to want to respond through their own social media accounts than through mine, if they choose to do so at all.”

She then tries to make it look like Tapper is lying by writing that if he had reached out as he claimed, “it seemed odd not to have included it in his 12-tweet thread.” She said only two of the four said they had been contacted by Tapper.

Later, she revealed the other two had not responded to her at all.  

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