TV journalists take regular daily beatings about what they wear, their hair and every syllable they utter. When it comes in the form of media reporting, most often there’s evidence to go along with the criticism. But on Twitter, viewers can weigh in with reckless abandon.
So what’s an anchor to do? Ignore? React?
CNN’s Jake Tapper, host of “The Lead,” isn’t usually one to ignore. Neither is his colleague, Chris Cuomo. Both men like to mix it up on online. Although recently Tapper did mostly abstain from the vitriol when Daily Kos‘ Markos Moulitsas attacked him for enthusiastically agreeing to do a ride along with Ron Johnson, the police captain in Ferguson, Mo. Johnson rescinded the offer without a real explanation. But that didn’t stop Moulitsas from calling Tapper “pathetic.” (Only in today’s brand of journalism is someone called “pathetic” for covering both sides of a story.)
Since the rioting coverage in Ferguson, Tapper and other TV and print journos have received widespread criticism. Let’s watch as we see how Tapper handled Summer Rane, a woman who called his reporting racist, but couldn’t point to any specifics whatsoever.
Scene setter: Tapper tweeted a link to a story on the media coverage on the death of Michael Brown. Summer Rane reacted by telling him his reporting was anti-African American.
SUMMER: “YOUR COVERAGE IS BIASED AND YOU ARE NOT FOOLING AFRICAN AMERICANS with your FAUX and DECEPTIVE REPORTING and slick wording #cnn.”
TAPPER: “What does that even mean? No need for all caps, I’m wearing my glasses, thanks.”
SUMMER: “I DVR your show and have followed u and CNN for years. I watch u every day SO I KNOW HOW U REPORT & CATCH SUBTLE WORDS.”
TAPPER: “So subtle I don’t even know to what you are referring.”
SUMMER: “Typical response. I expected you would say that. Your response proves and validates my message to you #cnn.”
Jake never replied and Summer got the last, bizarre word.
SUMMER: “You have read my tweets & you show bigotry & racism in your reporting when it involves African-Americans [sic]. AM I CLEAR.”