Is Bieber’s arrest ‘news’? CNN’s Tapper and Fox’s Baier weigh in

Washington news veteran and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell on Thursday received widespread criticism on social media when she interrupted former Rep. Jane Harman — who was discussing the push to end the NSA’s data collection program — to cover breaking courtroom video of Justin Bieber.

“Congresswoman, let me interrupt you… Congresswoman, let me interrupt you just for a moment. We have some breaking news out of Miami. Standby.  Right now in Miami, Justin Bieber has been arrested on a number of charges and the judge is reading the charges, including resisting arrest and driving under the influence — is appearing now before the judge,” said Mitchell.

While some commentators on Twitter questioned Andrea Mitchell’s credibility and whether Justin Bieber is legitimate “breaking news,” this behind-the-scenes editorial debate of “what is news?” for broadcast news programs continued Friday morning on a DC-based morning-drive radio show with CNN’s Jake Tapper and Fox’s Bret Baier.

Jake Tapper previewed his show on Twitter Thursday afternoon and touted having “no Bieber” news on his show.


“We were Bieber-free,” Tapper told WMAL host Brian Wilson on Friday. “Now we did discuss ‘is there an intelligent way to do it?'”

“We discuss whether to have ‘what if we had a discussion with an immigration expert about — since Bieber is Canadian… what if a Mexican had been caught with drugs, drunk driving and drag racing in Florida? What would happen to him?”

Tapper says, “But ultimately we decided to be Bieber free.”

Bret Baier, host of Fox News Channel’s “Special Report,” told WMAL Friday morning that his show was “not completely Bieber-free.”

“It is a balancing act and you kind of have to see what is news of that day. I’m not saying any pop culture story doesn’t rise to that level because there have been several [pop culture] stories that have taken over a whole show.”

Baier notes that Michael Jackson and Manti Te’o rose to those levels in the news cycle: “You have to weigh what else is going on.”