Jake Tapper

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Jake Tapper
Jake Tapper at the White House.jpg
Tapper at the White House, July 22, 2009
Born Jacob Paul Tapper
(1969-03-12) March 12, 1969 (age 51)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Residence Washington, D.C., U.S.
Nationality American
Education Bachelor's degree in history
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Employer CNN
Organization White House Correspondents' Association
Known for Chief Washington Correspondent, Anchor
Home town Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Spouse(s) Jennifer Marie Brown (2006–present)
Children 2
Awards Merriman Smith Memorial Award, Emmy Award

Jacob Paul "Jake" Tapper (born March 12, 1969) is an American "journalist", cartoonist, and author. As of 2016, Tapper is the Chief Washington Correspondent for CNN, anchor of the CNN weekday television news show The Lead with Jake Tapper, and anchor of the Sunday morning affairs program State of the Union. In 2016, The Lead was honored with two National Headliner Awards: Best Newscast (Broadcast television networks, cable networks and syndicators) and Best Coverage of a Major News Event (Broadcast television networks, cable networks and syndicators newscast) for the show's coverage of the Paris terrorist attacks in 2015.[1]

Prior to working for CNN, Tapper worked for ABC News. The White House Correspondents' Association honored his work as Senior White House Correspondent with ABC News with three Merriman Smith Memorial Awards for broadcast journalism, an unprecedented three times in a row.[2][3][4]

Tapper contributed to the coverage of the inauguration of President Obama that earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story. Tapper was part of a team that was awarded an Edward R. Murrow award for Video: Breaking News for “Target bin Laden: The Death of Public Enemy #1.”

His book The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor debuted at Number 10 in November 2012 on the New York Times Bestseller list for hardback non-fiction. Tapper's book and his reporting on the veterans and troops were cited when the Congressional Medal of Honor Society awarded him the “Tex” McCrary Award for Excellence in Journalism.[5]

The Republican primary debate Tapper moderated in September 2015 drew more than 23 million viewers, making it the most-watched program in the history of CNN and the second-most watched primary debate ever.[6] He also moderated the March 10, 2016 Republican presidential debate in Miami, which drew almost 12 million viewers[7] and according to Variety "garnered acclaim for its substance."[8]

Early life

Jacob Paul "Jake" Tapper was born on March 12, 1969, in New York City, and was raised in the Queen Village neighborhood of Philadelphia.[9] He is the son of Theodore S. "Ted" and Helen Anne (née Palmatier) Tapper. His mother retired as a psychiatric nurse at Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center. His father graduated from Dartmouth College, and went on to serve as the president of South Philadelphia Pediatrics and associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Jefferson Medical College.[10][11]

Tapper was raised in the Jewish faith;[12] his father was from a Jewish family, while his mother, a native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, converted from Presbyterianism to Judaism.


Tapper was educated at Akiba Hebrew Academy, an independent Jewish day school formerly located in Merion, Pennsylvania, followed by Dartmouth College, a private Ivy League research university in the town of Hanover, New Hampshire, from which he graduated as Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude with a B.A. in History, modified by Visual Studies.[13] At Dartmouth, Tapper was a member of Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity. He briefly attended graduate school at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television.[14]

Life and career

In 1992, Tapper served as a Campaign Press Secretary for Democratic congressional candidate Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (PA-13), and later served as her congressional press secretary.[15] Tapper also worked for Powell Tate, a Washington, D.C., public relations firm run by Democrat Jody Powell and Republican Sheila Tate. Tapper also worked briefly for Handgun Control, Inc. (now the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence) in 1997.

Tapper wrote several articles as a freelance writer, and then began his full-time journalism career in 1998 for two years as a Senior Writer for the Washington City Paper. While there, Tapper wrote an article about going on a date with Monica Lewinsky[16] which skewered Washington's culture of scandal. Tapper won a Society of Professional Journalists award for his work at the Washington City Paper.

Tapper was the Washington Correspondent for Salon.com from 1999 to 2002. Tapper's reports about Enron were nominated for a 2002 Columbia University School of Journalism online award, and he was an early questioner of the Bush administration's claims about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction.[17]

In 2001, Tapper was host of the CNN news talk show, "Take Five". Tapper was also a columnist for "TALK Magazine", and has written for "The New Yorker", "The New York Times Magazine", "The Washington Post", "The Los Angeles Times", "The Weekly Standard", and other publications. Tapper was a frequent contributor to National Public Radio's "All Things Considered", and his work was included in "The Best American Political Writing 2002." Tapper was the correspondent for a series of VH1 news specials in 2002.

ABC News

ABC News hired Tapper in 2003. While there, Tapper covered a range of topics including from the ABC News Baghdad bureau, from New Orleans after the failure of the levees after Hurricane Katrina, and from Afghanistan.[18] From March to July 2010, Tapper was interim anchor of ABC's This Week, hosting the program until Christiane Amanpour became This Week's anchor.

Tapper was named Senior White House Correspondent on November 5, 2008, the day after the 2008 presidential election. For an unprecedented three years in a row, the White House Correspondents' Association has awarded him the prestigious Merriman Smith Award for presidential coverage under deadline pressure. He was a key part of the ABC News coverage of the inauguration of President Obama that was awarded an Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story.

Tapper was passed over as candidate to replace George Stephanopoulos as anchor of This Week when Stephanopoulos was chosen to replace Diane Sawyer as co-host of Good Morning America after she became the anchor of World News.[19] CNN's Christiane Amanpour was selected as Stephanopoulos's replacement instead. Tapper served as the interim anchor until Amanpour took over the show on August 1, 2010.[20] He was passed over again when Stephanopoulous decided he wanted to return to the position.

Tapper contributed regularly to Good Morning America, Nightline, and World News with Diane Sawyer. In addition to anchoring World News and Good Morning America weekend editions and Nightline, Tapper was a frequent substitute host of "This Week" and served as interim host for much of 2010, scoring the first TV interview with CIA director Leon Panetta, as well as exclusives with Vice President Biden, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, retired Gen. Colin Powell, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, in addition to interviews with other newsmakers such as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

As senior White House correspondent, Tapper interviewed President Obama several times. Prior to his assignment at the White House, Tapper was ABC News' national/senior political correspondent based in the network's Washington, D.C., bureau. He contributed a report to a broadcast of "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" that won the 2005 Edward R. Murrow award for best network newscast. As ABC News' lead reporter covering the 2008 presidential election, he received recognition for both breaking stories and even-handedness. Traveling from Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina and beyond, Tapper interviewed both Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., as well as other White House hopefuls including former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.


It was announced December 20, 2012, that Tapper would join CNN and would anchor a new weekday program and serve as the network’s chief Washington correspondent.[21] He began with CNN in January 2013, hosting his own program, The Lead with Jake Tapper. In 2014, Mediaite called The Lead the best show on cable news, writing "Tapper has quickly developed a reputation as an equal opportunity skeptic — confronting Democratic politicians just as toughly as he would Republican ones. He’s among the most respected names in cable news, we’d argue; not because he’s so affable, but because he reminds viewers what news delivery can be like without the shouting, battling, blasting, or slamming."[22] Mediaite also named him the best cable news host. In a follow-up survey of cable news hosts, Tapper was also named the best cable news host on CNN.

The Lead with Jake Tapper won three National Headliner Awards for its reporting in 2013. Among broadcast television networks, cable networks and syndicators, The Lead with Jake Tapper won first prize for its coverage of the Boston marathon bombing and second prize for its coverage of the Oklahoma tornadoes in the category of "Coverage of a major news event." It won third prize for its coverage of the Boston marathon bombing in the category of "Continuing coverage of a major news event." [23] In June 2013, The New York Times' Allesandra Stanley wrote that "Jake Tapper, who this year became the host of 'The Lead' on CNN, has proved that it’s possible to create an afternoon news show that is intelligent, nonideological and not horribly boring."[24] In 2014, The Lead was honored for a series of reports on academic fraud at at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by correspondent Sara Ganim with a Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi award for Investigative Reporting.[25]

On September 16, 2015, Tapper moderated two Republican primary debates from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.[26] The main debate drew an average of 23.1 million viewers, making it the most watched program in the history of CNN and the second most watched primary debate ever.[6] He also moderated the March 10, 2016 Republican presidential debate in Miami, which drew almost 12 million viewers[7] and according to Variety "garnered acclaim for its substance."[8]

In June 2015, Tapper became host of CNN's Sunday political show, State of the Union with Jake Tapper. There he has become known for challenging politicians of all stripes, including challenging Senator Bernie Sanders to release his tax returns;[27] asking Jeb Bush why Hillary Clinton is responsible for Benghazi if his brother George W. Bush bears no responsibility for the terrorist attacks on 9/11;[28] asking Hillary Clinton about the FBI investigation into her private email server;[29] and perhaps most notably asking Donald Trump if he would denounce support from white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, and David Duke[30] -- referred to days later as "the infamous Tapper-Trump exchange" by Mitt Romney[31] in his March 2016 speech condemning Trump.

Other programs and media

Tapper has contributed to GQ, The Weekly Standard, NPR's All Things Considered, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. In 2001, he hosted the program Take Five on CNN, in which young journalists and commentators discussed politics and pop culture. In 2002, he hosted a series of entertainment news specials on VH1, and in 2003 he hosted shows focused on independent film on the Sundance Channel. Tapper has also been a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Colbert Report, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Conan, The View, Real Time with Bill Maher, and appeared on the Judge John Hodgman podcast as guest bailiff, standing in for regular bailiff Jesse Thorn during the August 31, 2011 episode entitled "De Plane".[32]

Published works

Tapper is also the author of The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor, a critically acclaimed book about U.S. troops in Afghanistan that debuted at #10 on the New York Times bestseller list for hardback non-fiction. Bob Woodward described the book as: "Brilliant, dedicated reporting by a journalist who goes to ground to get the truth. A sad, real tale about this war, America and the brave warriors who live-and die-at the point of the spear" and Jon Krakauer called it "a mind-boggling, all-too-true story of heroism, hubris, failed strategy, and heartbreaking sacrifice. If you want to understand how the war in Afghanistan went off the rails, you need to read this book."[citation needed] In 2014, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society recognized Tapper for the book and his reporting on military topics in general with the “Tex” McCrary Award for Excellence in Journalism.[5]

In addition to The Outpost, Tapper is the author of Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency, based on the 2000 Presidential election, that the Washington Post called "lively," the Chicago Tribune called "a churning effusion well worth reading" and the Daily Telegraph called "engrossing." He also wrote "Body Slam: The Jesse Ventura Story" (St. Martin's Press) that was excerpted by the Washington Post Magazine.

His comic strip Capitol Hell appeared in Roll Call from 1994 to 2003. He has also contributed cartoons to the American Spectator magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Awards and honors

As the Senior White House Correspondent for ABC News, Tapper was honored with three Merriman Smith Memorial Awards for broadcast journalism.[2][3][4] The first Merriman Smith Memorial Award was for reporting noncompliance of laws regulating tax reporting by the Secretary nominee Department of Health and Human Services secretary nominee and former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle (D-SD),[33] troubles that ultimately derailed Daschle's nomination. The second was for the 2010 story that President Obama had asked for the resignation of his Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis C. Blair (retired). The third time was for breaking the 2011 story that the ratings agency Standard and Poor's was expected to downgrade the AAA rating for U.S. government debt.

On July 6, 2009, former MSNBC television personality Dan Abrams launched a website service, Mediaite, reporting on media figures, ranking all TV-based journalists in America by influence; at December 2010, Tapper ranked at number one.[34]

Personal life

In 2006, Tapper married Jennifer Marie Brown in her home state of Missouri.[35] The Tappers live in Washington, D.C.;[36] his wife has two children. He practices the Jewish faith.[37]


  1. "2016 National Headliners Award list of winners" (PDF).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 WHCA. "White House Correspondents' Association 2010 Journalism Awards". White House Correspondents' Association. Retrieved May 1, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "White House Correspondents' Association Announces Recipients of the 2011 Awards". White House Correspondents' Association. Retrieved April 28, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "2012 WHCA Journalism Awards". White House Correspondents' Association. Retrieved April 28, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Blog Detail | Medal of Honor Convention". www.mohconvention.com. Retrieved 2016-01-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Stelter, Brian. "23 million watched GOP debate, a record for CNN". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2016-01-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 "CNN Money report on ratings of March 10, 2016 debate".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Variety, Rick Kissell, "Ratings: Viewership Falls Off for Civilized GOP Debate on CNN," March 11, 2016".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Philadelphia Inquirer: "Jake Tapper, Philadelphia boy to CNN 'Lead'" By John Timpane April 08, 2013
  10. York Times Weddings: "Helen A. Palmatier Bride of a Physician"
  11. "Jennifer Brown, Jacob Tapper". The New York Times. September 3, 2006. Retrieved May 5, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Jewish Exponent: "Grads Hear Jake Tapper's Rap About 'Lashon Hara'" by bryan Schwartzman June 14, 2012
  13. "CNN TV - Anchors/Reporters:Jake Tapper".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Kurtz, Howard (March 2, 2009). "Covering Obama, Pushy Jake Tapper Presses His Points". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-09-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. http://articles.philly.com/1992-12-19/news/25993822_1_campaign-manager-jake-tapper-republican-jon-d-fox
  16. Tapper, Jake (January 30, 1998). "I Dated Monica Lewinsky". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2011-07-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Tapper, Jake. "The Hyping of Saddam's WMD". Dir.salon.com. Retrieved 2011-07-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Meet Jake Tapper". ABC News. 2012-04-16. Retrieved 2016-01-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Kurtz, Howard (December 11, 2009). "The easygoing 'GMA'? His going wasn't easy". The Washington Post. pp. C01. Retrieved December 18, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Venkataraman, Nitya (2010-03-18). "Christiane Amanpour Named 'This Week' Anchor". ABC News. Retrieved 2011-07-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "ABC'S JAKE TAPPER IS GOING TO CNN". The Blaze. Retrieved 20 December 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "The 12 Best Shows on Cable News". www.mediaite.com. Retrieved 2016-01-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. http://www.headlinerawards.com/Winners2014Broadcast.html
  24. Stanley, Alessandra (June 17, 2013). "'New Day,' a Revamped Morning Show, Makes Its Debut". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "Announcing the 2014 Sigma Delta Chi Award winners | Society of Professional Journalists | Improving and protecting journalism since 1909". www.spj.org. Retrieved 2016-01-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "CNN REAGAN LIBRARY DEBATE: Later Debate Full Transcript". Retrieved 2016-01-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. ""Sanders on Releasing His Tax Returns," CNN Press room".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. "Salon, "Jake Tapper stuns Jeb Bush: If your brother is blameless for 9/11 why is Hillary Clinton responsible for Benghazi," October 2015".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. "Mediaite, "Watch Hillary Clinton Laugh Through Jake Tapper's Email Question," October 2015".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. "Business Insider, "CNN anchor Jake Tapper asks Donald Trump 3 times if he would condemn David Duke and the KKK," February 2016".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. "CNN coverage of Romney speech".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. Julia Smith (31 August 2011). "Judge John Hodgman Episode 34: De Plane". Maximum Fun. Retrieved 2013-01-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. "Bumps in the Road: Obama's HHS Secretary Nominee Faces Tax Questions Over Car and Driver". ABC News. January 30, 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. "Jake Tapper". Mediaite. Retrieved December 22, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. New York Times Weddings: "Jennifer Brown, Jacob Tapper" September 3, 2006
  36. Home and Design: "Private Tour- At Home with Jake Tapper - This ABC News correspondent and his wife Jennifer create a stylish Washington retreat" By Sharon Jaffe Dan MARCH/APRIL 2008
  37. Washington Post: "Celebrity resolutions: revealed and graded" By Sadie Dingfelder December 29, 2013

External links

Media offices
New office CNN Chief Washington Correspondent
January 2013 – Present
Preceded by
Martha Raddatz
ABC News Chief White House Correspondent
January 2009 – December 2012
Succeeded by
Jonathan Karl