After a more than 5 month ferris wheel of interim moderators, CNN’s “State of the Union” will finally have its mainstay behind the desk this Sunday.
Jake Tapper, the Sunday morning circuit’s newest host and anchor of CNN’s “The Lead,” will officially end the Sunday show’s period of sede vacante (that’s right, FBDC knows Latin) since Candy Crowley announced she would be leaving CNN in December.
Only days away from his debut, we had a chance to pick Tapper’s brain in our latest edition of Fishbowl5. Enjoy!
FishbowlDC: With other young moderators (Chuck Todd and John Dickerson) joining the Sunday show circuit this past year, do you expect any sort of rivalry with your peers?
Jake Tapper: Thank you for calling me young! I expect Chuck and John and I to renew the Battle Of The Network Stars, where we and our staffs compete in various obstacle courses and feats of strength. Charlene Tilton can be on my team. More seriously, they are both old and dear friends of mine and while I’m sure we will compete, I trust that it will be friendly. I truly wish them, as well as George and Chris and Jorge, nothing but success.
FBDC: What will set Jake Tapper‘s State of the Union apart from the other Sunday shows?
JT: I think being on cable we will be able to experiment a little more and go deeper and longer on interviews and profiles. Network shows have more commercial pressures so there will be more pushing for many topics, many subject changes, shorter interviews. Hopefully we can avoid that trap.
FBDC: If you could host any guest on your show this year, who would it be and why?
JT: His Holiness the Pope, because he’s so fascinating and compelling and he’s coming to my beloved hometown of Philadelphia, and every anchor in the world is trying to book him.
FBDC: Following all the hoopla surrounding George Stephanopoulos’s undisclosed contributions to the Clinton Foundation, there’s been a lot of concern about personal political bias in the media’s 2016 coverage. Do you ever find it hard to balance your own personal views while maintaining journalistic impartiality?
JT: Yes when it comes to my persona views of honesty and transparency and facts and compassion, but not at all when it comes to political biases, because I try very hard in both my professional and personal life to be as agnostic as possible. I don’t think any party or ideology has all the answers.
FBDC: Wolf Blitzer, Tom Foreman and Jim Acosta are in a burning building and you can only save one. Who do you choose and why?
JT: As everyone knows, ever since that alien bestowed upon him his magic beard, Wolf has been fireproof. Foreman is truly like MacGyver — he would be able to escape with nothing more than his wits, a shoelace, and an old CASIO digital watch. That leaves Acosta, whom I would rescue and carry out as if he were a little puppy.
Watch a preview for Tapper’s “State of the Union,” courtesy of CNN.