Speed Reads

Trump v the press

CNN's Jake Tapper explains how Trump's war on the press compares with Obama's fight against Fox News

Last week, after CNN reported that top U.S. intelligence officials had presented President-elect Donald Trump with unverified claims that Russia has compromising personal and financial material on him, Trump and his press aides attacked CNN as "fake news" and conflated its report with BuzzFeed's publication of the entire raw Russia dossier. The BuzzFeed dossier was "pretty salacious," Seth Meyers reminded CNN's Jake Tapper on Monday's Late Night, with "obviously some details that comedy shows were really happy to read," but for CNN and other news organizations, "this must be a crazy time."

Meyers noted that Tapper used to be a White House reporter like CNN's Jim Acosta, who was berated by Trump and his designated press secretary, Sean Spicer. "Do you feel as though you're under attack, being a member of the press right now?" he asked. Tapper said he's been yelled at by presidents and press secretaries from both parties, "but I've never seen the effort to delegitimize an organization for a story that you don't like that has been proven," like CNN's Trump story, 100 percent accurate. Trump "was obviously trying to get us to stop focusing on the story, and just to discredit all of us," Tapper said. "And you know, that's too bad — it's not a huge shock that he would try to do that."

Meyers asked if it is unreasonable to expect the press corps to band together to try and force Trump's administration to answer questions, and Tapper took a little walk down memory lane, to when he was a White House correspondent for ABC News. In President Obama's first term — "and I'm not saying these things are equivalent — but the Obama White House went to war against Fox News, and they tried to say that the entire organization was illegitimate," Tapper said. "And 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." If you're part of a news organization that's not CNN and Trump doesn't like your accurate story, Tapper warned, "you're next." Watch below for Tapper's impression of Obama hitting him with an Obama burn. Peter Weber