CNN’s Jake Tapper is throwing the phrase “fake news” back at President Donald Trump and his administration after their similar frequent claims targeted at the cable news network.
Appearing on a SXSW panel moderated by MTV’s Ana Marie Cox, the journalist continued to fight back against Trump’s rhetoric towards CNN, even declaring that the White House has been the one doling out “fake news.”
“It’s a difficult environment when the commander-in-chief of the country — I’d say, ‘Leader of the Free World,’ but I think that’s Angela Merkel now — hears anything he doesn’t like and calls it ‘fake news,’” said Tapper, according to Deadline. “I call ‘fake news’ three recent things: When Trump said nobody in his campaign spoke to Russia, and they did; when Michael Flynn said he didn’t have contact with the Russians, and he did; and now our attorney general said he didn’t speak to the Russians. … The White House wants to delegitimize any checks and balances.”
While Tapper might not get a kick out of the phrase, his seven-year-old does. Tapper shared that if he seems to be in a bad mood, his son will jokingly scream, “Fake news.” The journalist added, “Except, my seven-year-old knows it’s a ridiculous, childish thing.”
As much has been made of Trump’s acrimonious relationship with the press, Tapper says he’s bothered by “journalists who are not rising to the occasion.”
He continued, “The press is in a much more adversarial place than ever. And you know what? I hope we stay that way now and in the next administration because that’s where we are supposed to be.”
With his rising profile and visibility, Tapper has found himself in the same position as many members of the Trump administration — being impersonated on SNL. Beck Bennett has taken on the role of the CNN host, most notably playing him across from Kate McKinnon’s Kellyanne Conway in a Fatal Attraction spoof.
“When you see how they have gone after Sean Spicer — they got somebody probably 20 years younger than me, in much better shape, with far fewer wrinkles, a handsome guy,” shared Tapper, via The Hollywood Reporter. “I feel like I really dodged a bullet.”