On May 10 ABC’s Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper will speak at Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, Pa. at a “Patrons Event” where congregants can sign up to contribute at varying price points. For example, $2500 gets you four preferred seats in the reserved section, reception and your name prominently displayed whereas $1000 lands you two preferred seats in the reserved section, reception and your name prominently displayed and $360 gets you two seats in the reserved section, reception and your name prominently displayed . Seats are $36 in advance and $45 at the door.
All sounds kosher, right?
Well, not entirely. The temple, which practices Conservative Judaism, is using Tapper and ABC in its advertising to raise cash. Though Tapper has never made a secret of his religion — in his Twitter bio, he tells visitors that “dissecting my tweets with Talmudic meticulousness will result in wrong conclusions” — this sounds like straight up whoring of a news network to us. Well-known TV correspondents generally speak at universities and college graduations. A network raising money for a temple? Not so commonplace. Can you imagine a national news network raising funds for a megachurch?
“Jake has a personal connection with the synagogue in his hometown of Philadelphia and its scholarship fund,” ABC spokeswoman Michelle Levi told us in an email. “This is not in conflict with his daily duties and he is donating all personal proceeds to charity. Speaking engagements are evaluated on a case by case basis and this one was approved in advance by ABC News.” Update: We wondered what ABC meant by “scholarship fund.” Apparently this means “The Levitties Fund is associated with the religious school and they do adult education.”
In the meantime, have a look.