Is Jake Tapper ‘The Only Genuine Romantic in TV News?’

By Chris Ariens 

In her profile of Jake Tapper, Taffy Brodesser-Akner talked with a few TV and media types about the anchor of CNN’s The Lead and State of the Union:

From ABC’s Diane Sawyer: “You could send him an e-mail and within 15 seconds get the entire history, back to the War of the Roses and three references to Saint Augustine and the movie and the remake of the movie and how he felt about the casting of each. It’s all in his brain. It’s not that he learns the facts and that he studies. It’s that he wakes up in the morning so curious, and I think you can tell.”

From Politico’s Jack Shafer: “I want to dislike him. If only because of the way he puffs himself up to anchorman size. But having puffed himself up, the boy delivers. He’s probably the best interviewer TV has these days, as unshakable as that diamondback that chases you in your dreams. His reporting seems to come from the heart. He’s probably the only genuine romantic in TV news.”

From the New York Times’s Jim Rutenberg: “Jake is rising to the moment. Just by doing very basic fact-checking and calling things out bluntly, it kind of comes as this giant cathartic act for the audience. He doesn’t let anyone off the hook.”

And Jake on Jake: “It’s nice to be recognized, but I also know that a lot of the people who are happy with me now are not going to be happy with me in four to eight years.”

Next week, Tapper is going prime time for one week only (for now), taking The Lead to 9 p.m. against Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and Tucker Carlson on Fox News. When we asked CNN boss Jeff Zucker in February about the possibility of Tapper in prime, he said they were happy with his performance in the afternoons. But at the lunch with other Turner executives, Zucker added, “it would be hard to argue that there’s two fresher, newer, bigger personalities in all of television right now, than Samantha Bee and Jake Tapper on the news side.”