Hey there, I’m a CNN anchor and the network’s chief Washington correspondent. I have a daily news show called The Lead with Jake Tapper, which airs weekdays at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT, that attempts to examine and advance stories from headlines from around the country and the globe.

I’ve been a reporter in the nation’s capital for more than 14 years – I started at Washington City Paper and then wrote for Salon.com, back when the Internet was relatively new. Prior to CNN, I served as senior White House correspondent for ABC News. I recently wrote a book called The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor, which debuted in the top 10 on The New York Times best-seller list and comes out in paperback later this month. I’m a prolific tweeter, to a fault, and once wanted to be a cartoonist. I live in Washington, D.C., with my wife, daughter, son, dog, and cat.


Twitter: https://twitter.com/jaketapper/status/387971882584010752

OK -- I HAVE TO GO BACK TO WORK, FOLKS! thanks so much for the smart and interesting and lively questions.


The Lead airs at 4 pm ET/1 pm Pacific every day

and this week we're also doing a special on the government shutdown/fiscal stand-off at 11 pm ET/8 pm Pacific...

The paperback of THE OUTPOST: AN UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN VALOR comes out on October 22, you can pre-order it here >


The show blog is at cnn.com/thelead and i'm at facebook.com/JakeTapperCNN and on twitter at @jaketapper

that's it! Be well! talk soon!

your pal, Jake



Comments: 380 • Responses: 61  • Date: 

wheezymustafa59 karma


What's with CNN's "Doomsday" countdown for the debt ceiling cutoff? Don't you guys think that's a little much?

I'm scared Wolf might ingest some cyanide pils when it reaches 0. :p

jaketapper7 karma

the clock isn't my call, but i certainly understand the reasoning behind it. the moment we hit the debt ceiling could be a significant one for your retirement savings (assuming you have investments and/or a 401K) and it's a way of making sure people know how much time exists for DC to come to an agreement and raise the debt ceiling.

The other clock is how many days it's been since the government partially shut down.

Not everyone is staying on top of the story hour-by-hour, and it's a small way of quickly bringing folks up to speed.

Rebelicon41 karma

Hi Jake,

Do you think the NSA revelations from Edward Snowden and Wikileaks have been hurtful or helpful for journalists reporting on national security issues?


jaketapper51 karma

they've been a treasure trove for journalists and have let Americans know more about what the US government is doing purportedly in the name of our security. I wish I'd broken them instead of that dastardly Glenn Greenwald!!! ;)

I can certainly understand why those in the national security apparatus, charged with keeping us safe and desiring every possible tool that can be dreamed up, would not be so enamored.

ryan9827 karma

Many media critics argue that the current state of network news exists only to reinforce the beliefs and opinions already held by viewers (confirmation bias). Have you encountered a situation in your work as a journalist where facts were omitted, or a similar tactic was used to make the news more 'presentable' to a certain demographic?


jaketapper4 karma

No, not that specifically. Though I would observe that war coverage in the U.S. is decidedly less bloody than it is in other countries' media coverage, which I assume reflects a history of viewers/readers not wanting to see those images. Which I think ultimately doesn't serve our troops well, or their families (or the people in the countries the U.S. government says it's trying to help).

BigCat900027 karma

How does it feel having to ask people like Jay Carney questions when you know they are essentially there to make the administration look good at all costs? Do you ever feel the desire to jump up to the podium and tell him to cut the shit?

jaketapper47 karma

The White House press briefings are quite often useless. The spokespeople are there to not make news. I get a lot more reporting done away from cameras, at least when it comes to the White House. I have never had the desire to jump up to the podium, and I will leave the second part of your sentence dangling there enticingly.

BigCat90007 karma

What's the last important story you broke?

jaketapper26 karma

probably last month when a source gave me a copy of the Youtube videos from the chemical weapons attack in Syria being shown by the intelligence community to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.


richpound20 karma

Have you ever touched Wolf Blitzer's beard?

jaketapper51 karma

No, but it is always very well groomed and closely shorn.

He is a role model for many reasons, but here's a poem:

for anyone with a beard, he should be revered. -- e.e. tapper

BigCat900023 karma

I know this isn't related to Wolf Blitzer's beard but a lot of comments are being buried. I think it would be unfortunate to waste an opportunity to ask a senior reporter from one of the Big 3 cable news networks a question that is on everyone's minds.

CNN is terrible. Have you been on your website? It's www.cnn.com . Here are some of hard hitting news items that are on your front page right now:

"Is No 1 on Billboard Hot 100 Racist?"

"10 Must See Animal Migrations"

"Teacher Under Fire For Playboy Spread"

"Lottery Prize Winner Loses $1M Prize"

"One Lucky Seal Gives Shark The Slip"

Just read the title of that last news story that's posted on the front page of your news website. "One lucky seal gives shark the slip". Are you kidding me?

jaketapper21 karma

I just looked at cnn.com and the lead stories are overwhelmingly about the government shutdown.

Same goes on our show's website, which is what my staff and I focus on at cnn.com/thelead

orderoffriarminor17 karma

Hi Jake! How come CNN US and CNN International have such different programming? Is it inherent cynicism about what US audiences will watch, America's inability to export its reporting or something else?

jaketapper13 karma

CNN has a few channels -- CNN, CNNi, CNN Espanol...each channel is tailored for different audiences, though we share reporting resources and information and frequently simulcast. But one can't expect those in Lebanon will be interested in all the exact same stories as those in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, all the time.

orderoffriarminor20 karma

Conflicted feels: thanks for answering my question but ... come on, Jake! This is a politician's answer to an honest question. I frequently tune in to CNN for work at home in the States and abroad (including Beirut). The content differential is staggering between CNN US and the rest of the world (in my experience Beirut, East Asia and South America). I understand the networks need to tailor to a distinct audience but it's disingenuous to suggest that the difference between CNN in Lebanon, PA and Lebanon is the same as CNN in Beirut or, say, Moscow, Tokyo, London, etc. Is there any concern at CNN US that the domestic audience is being insulated from a global perspective or vice versa? Thanks! Sincerely, a fan who can't watch your show abroad for work and also has trouble explaining to foreign clients why US news can't be exported, except the NY Times, WSJ and Herald Tribune anymore.

jaketapper11 karma

oof, being accused of dodging a question like a politician hurts!

i wasn't dodging, let me see if i can try to understand your question better. we have a channel that focuses on international news, CNNi, and you're wondering why that just can't be the one channel we have? or why my show can't air on it? or why we don't cover more international news on CNN? help me out here...

I think we try to blend the channels as much as possible -- I know I've had CNNi anchors and reporters on my show, and we've covered plenty of events in Egypt, Turkey, and the like... We have a World Lead every day....

kctoons14 karma

Hey Mr. Tapper, thanks for doing an AMA!

I know you professionally try to consistently stay above the fray... but I've always wondered if you personally consider yourself more conservative or liberal?

jaketapper21 karma

i truly try to stay as agnostic in terms of policies as i can, even in my personal life, much to the frustration of friends and family. My personal views on politics are all over the map, though.

gpia7r13 karma

Thanks for being one of the few seemingly neutral people in the field with integrity. It is very rare and appreciated.

jaketapper14 karma

thank you for the kind words!

CanadianGladiator13 karma

What's been the most difficult story for you to report?

jaketapper21 karma

Writing The Outpost, my book about Afghanistan, was grueling emotionally and physically. More so than the two trips I took to that country, it was very difficult to spend time with so many people whose lives had been damaged so significantly by the war -- troops and their loved ones. It was also very humbling.

bunknown13 karma

Do you believe there is bias in mainstream media? If yes, which way does it slant and which networks? Thank you.

Edit: If the answer is yes, why?

jaketapper65 karma

Yes I do but I also think it's more complicated than just liberal bias. I think there are a lot of hard-working reporters in NYC and DC who have never fired a gun, or never worked a 9-5 manual labor job, or lived in the middle of the country, or worried about their next paycheck, or have anyone in their family who serves in the military and I think that creates a cultural bias. But I also think there are a lot of reporters who work to counter that and understand the limitations of their own realities. But yes, I do think there is bias. Reluctant to name names though because I try to be collegial.

tuskalusaII12 karma

I'm a young journalist in D.C. (started in June as an investigative reporter, graduated in May.) If you could go back in time, what wisdom would you pass down to yourself when you were just starting out in D.C. journalism?

jaketapper38 karma

1) Be more careful -- I confused two women's names in an early Washington City Paper article that haunts me to this day. Not because it was in itself so serious, but because it was sloppy and my editor yelled at me quite a bit. As he should have. 2) The universe is smaller than you think -- and everyone reads everything.
3) Persistence persistence persistence persistence persistence persistence persistence 4) Stop smoking That was advice for my younger self.

Dizzy-Cat7 karma


jaketapper6 karma

UGH. awful. my mistake wasn't quite that, but same idea except about a local animal shelter, i think,

Jelhead12 karma

Hey Jake! You seem to be seen by conservatives as the one non-Fox mainstream anchor bucking the pro-liberal bias in the media. Why do you think this is?
I personally don't see you as significantly more conservative than other anchors except on the issue of abortion, where I think there's the biggest tendency by the media to skew overwhelmingly liberal and ignore the pro-life side. Unlike every other mainstream journalist, you covered the Kermit Gosnell case from very early on, why was that and do you think that's a major factor in why people have this perception?

jaketapper24 karma

I try to be fair and consider as many points of view as possible. I can't really speak to other reporters, but I don't think conservative fans think I share their belief system necessarily, they just think I'm fair and tough on everyone. (I hope liberal fans think the same thing.) I do wonder how I would be perceived by conservatives if I had been a member of the Bush White House press corps.

detectiveriggsboson11 karma

What's a common behavior you see from other reporters that just makes you shake your head?

jaketapper35 karma

I always hate it when politicians or spokespeople make dumb jokes and the room titters with Eddie Haskell-esque laughter. Ugh.


Were there any challenges in the move from ABC News to CNN?

jaketapper16 karma

absolutely -- the difference between an news division that gets 3 hours of air time a day and one that's almost 24 hours a day. there's a totally different metabolism. also i went from being a correspondent for other anchors' news broadcasts to having my own and being a boss, etc. it's been fun and very challenging.

Starfire6610 karma

Hi Jake, Thanks for doing this AMA.

My Question is regarding your fellow journalist Michael Hastings. There's a lot of conspiracy theories regarding his untimely demise.

Do you view this incident as having any substantial fallout on the journalistic machine, and what you or your colleagues are willing to touch in the way of stories critical of the U.S. Government.

Thanks for your time, and keep up the good work!

jaketapper13 karma

I was friends with Michael. That was a big loss. But i have to say, if there was any conspiracy, Michael had a close knit circle of brave investigative reporters who would be blowing the lid off the thing. Sad thing is, it was what it was. R.I.P.

bencordoza8 karma

Whats the biggest mistake you've said on air?

jaketapper20 karma

i probably botch a name once a show. SORRY ABOUT HEISENBERG REFERENCE BREAKING BAD FANS.

but you're looking for something more serious. i have certainly made a lot of mistakes but fortunately most of them were in my early years as a print reporter so they're weren't on camera.

Let me think about this one some more and try to get back to you.

I remember accidentally calling Russia "the Soviet Union"!!! but again you're looking for something more serious. Hmm.

jaketapper20 karma

I havent forgotten about you. I dont know. Suffice it say that my fallibility is quite apparent, especially to me.

EatingSandwiches18 karma

Who was your favorite person to interview?

jaketapper20 karma

For sheer joy, Larry David. For news value, Leon Panetta when he was CIA director and I scored the first interview with him. For emotional resonance, Medal of Honor recipient Clint Romesha...

rkiloquebec7 karma

Hi Jake! Thanks for doing this AMA. I’m a huge fan of your past work and the story you told in your book The Outpost. IMHO it’s one of the greatest tales of our military’s shortcomings in command and the valor of our soldiers.

One could argue that for a long time the journalistic integrity of CNN was compromised. Indeed, one could say that the journalistic integrity of all current cable news network’s has been compromised by not-so-hidden agendas and corporate money; however; it appears that CNN is “growing a new pair” under the guidance of Jeff Zucker. Interviewers are asking tougher questions and not letting interviewee’s off the hook as they seem to have in the past. What has led to the slightly harder-hitting journalism at CNN. Did Zucker’s hiring last November influence your decision to join CNN? Do you honestly feel like there is a turn-around in the works? Do you think the advent of social media is wreaking havoc on the traditional television news networks in a sense that it is easier for people to call BS on stories?

Again, thanks for taking the time to do this!

jaketapper12 karma

thanks for the kind words!! means a lot.

i was talking to CNN long before Zucker took the helm, but his coming on board was important and i was his first hire. I can't say what it was like before he came on board because i wasn't here, but i will say i've heard nothing but encouragement when it comes to holding feet to the fire -- of Democrats and Republicans and anyone in power.

also thanks for reading The Outpost... it's some of the work i'm most proud of, and means the most to me.

allies3336 karma

What do you do each day to get ready to go on air? Do you do any research yourself, or do you just get it all from other people?

jaketapper11 karma

I have a stellar team of producers and writers helping me, but I also do a lot of my own research. It's both. But I could not do this without my team.

kapnasty6 karma

I miss reading your stories from when you were a WH correspondent. Everyday you pushed back against the BS and it was nice to see Carney squirm.

I'm on furlough and I hear my veterans benefits won't come in next month so I'm hoping they won't default but, what are you hearing about the shutdown? How much longer do you think this will go on?

jaketapper3 karma

i wish i could offer you assurance that your benefits will come through next month. i don't know. ultimately i want to have faith something will be worked out. thank you for your service.

madmak76 karma

Big fan of yours going way back. My question is of deep importance ... are you a Breaking Bad fan? Were you on Team Walt? How about Team Jesse?

jaketapper11 karma

I'm in the middle of season two. NO SPOILERS!!!! :)

clindhartsen6 karma

The Lead seems like a departure from traditional CNN-fare. What was your objective going in and how has it changed after some months on the air?

jaketapper9 karma

The objective was to make a show that would feel like the cover of a great newspaper -- one you're excited to read every lead story, about politics, national affairs, international, pop culture, sports, money, etc.

I wouldn't say that has changed at all, it's more that events -- and our 4 o'clock time slot when a lot of things are happening -- mean sometimes "The Lead" is less 8 lead stories and more one lead story covered in depth.

K454R15 karma


jaketapper9 karma

I started out thinking I would be a government major but the realities of what happened quickly became more interesting than theories of what might happen and History beckoned. My first history professor went on to become the president of the college! And now I get to cover history as it's been made, writing the first drafts, as they say.

Matt_E_Mo5 karma

Will CNN's special on The Outpost ever be re-aired or available online? There are tons of people who have not seen it that need to. One viewing wasn't enough!!

jaketapper11 karma

we had two specials on the two Medal of Honor awardees from the October 3, 2009, battle of Combat Outpost Keating. I don't know of any plans to re-air either one, though video from both is on cnn.com....and on my blog cnn.com/thelead. Ty Carter and Clint Romesha are their names. Amazing men.

dhubs345 karma

Do you think news coverage has become more sensationalizing recently?

jaketapper3 karma

Compared to when and what news media?

wonkytonk_cowboy5 karma

Jake-- big fan. You've got a pretty significant Twitter and online presence, and I know you like to joke. How do you figure out the line between covering hard and breaking news and injecting a bit of levity and humor to these events?

jaketapper10 karma

It's a tough line to negotiate and I know that by even injecting an occasional (attempted) funny remark some people don't like it.... I guess when it comes to serious breaking stories i turn off that part of me, on twitter..... The bottom line is we're all trying to figure it out as we go along and I will make mistakes in that area but I'm trying not to.... Does that make sense?

lostmylizard5 karma


jaketapper10 karma

Charlie Gibson is a national treasure! He can snicker at me anytime he wants!

NinjaBrettt5 karma

Do you ever find it challenging to report on a story that you know you can't give completely accurate depictions of?

jaketapper4 karma

give me an example...the best one i can think of is from my book, withholding some information about troops' injuries.... that was a very tough decision...

DonNearyKreamer4 karma

It's great to have a fellow Dartmouth alum in such a prominent media role! Congratulations on the show and all your success so far.

I'm curious what you think about the recent media/PR problems Dartmouth has had recently (hazing covered in Rolling Stone, drinking in NY Times, and the sexual assault inquiries to name a few). Does Dartmouth need to change or is this undue criticism?

jaketapper4 karma

it's truly embarrassing. i don't think it's just a media/PR problem, though. That idiotic and abusive behavior needs to end.

ReverendRad4 karma

How often do are you asked to skew facts in order to enforce the corporate America and government agendas?

jaketapper2 karma


buffalocentric3 karma

Does the majority of Congress realize how much the American Public dislikes them and the job they've done lately? Especially with the Sequester and now this Government Shutdown?

jaketapper10 karma

5% approval rating in the new AP poll. quite an achievement. and yet 97% of them will be reelected, if current history is any guide.

silence15453 karma

Was there a story you wished had gotten more coverage? Either because it was overshadowed, or it wasn't deemed interesting enough?

My mom was a journalist for a good number of years, and constantly fought with her editor over what was important and what wasn't.

jaketapper2 karma

all the time! sounds like your mom was a good reporter!

spacester3 karma

What a self-serving sham of an AMA.

Two or three hours, nothing of substance and he is outta here.

Not that any one expected more of course.

Fellow Redditors, am I wrong? Was there anything of substance I missed?

jaketapper15 karma

hey, im back.

i answered the top q's...sorry you were disappointed. what exactly did you think i should answer that i didnt?

666_72 karma

He's from CNN there's no relevance to anything, and if there is its probably a lie.

jaketapper4 karma

thanks, 666_7 !

The-Mo3 karma

OMG that stupid Jake Tapper commercial kept playing over and over again, week after week, on the online stream. Comic books, international relations, the 1980 Philadelphia Phillies... Your commercial was played more than the news itself. I know it by heart, and I hate you for that. Why do you torture us online viewers like this? Do you get some twisted enjoyment from it?

jaketapper4 karma

I'd like them to replace it with a new one.

stephmo3 karma


jaketapper3 karma

I've watched both seasons. I wrote a review of the first four episodes for The New Republic (http://www.newrepublic.com/article/books-and-arts/magazine/104225/jake-tapper-the-snoozeroom-sorkin) which expressed some of my issues with season one. I preferred season two. No one on my staff is obsessed with Big Foot. The Loch Ness Monster on the other hand...

Faith93263 karma

Although the situation itself wasn't funny(Boston bombing), I must admit seeing you hold up that iPad to show the new FBI photos of the suspects was hilarious and unexpected.


Whose idea was that?

jaketapper2 karma

spur of the moment, middle of the night. Wanted to show the pics to viewers and it was a bare-bones staff at that hour.

wellski3 karma

Hey Jake, you do great work.

What's it like being on camera with a rather loud protester in the background, from your perspective? Stopped by your interview with Rep. Hensarling last week and it was difficult to miss the man over toward the Visitor's Center.

jaketapper12 karma

Annoying, but First Amendment, etc.

wink4jesse3 karma

What is the most fun part of your job? Least fun part?

jaketapper10 karma

Most fun part of the job for me is breaking a story. My wife makes fun of me when I'm in the middle of one of my crazy frantic singularly-focused jags and about to break something.

Least fun -- seeing tragic events that devastate families and communities up close.

ttthhhhppppptt3 karma

In a Game of Thrones style trial by combat, who would win: Chuck Todd or Major Garrett?

follow up: could you best either of those and what would your weapon be?

jaketapper20 karma

Garrett, clearly. I could best either man, with my mere bare hands.


Is it true that Todd stands on a milk crate (or whatever the DC equivalent is, in Iowa we still use milk crates) to look taller?

jaketapper2 karma

no, he's normal height. a good guy, too.

etotheerik3 karma

Have you ever published something you know is a lie? You don't need to be specific.

jaketapper3 karma


clemsonk2 karma

Why do you think President Obama snubbed tv reporters at yesterday's press conference? (and, instead, granted all questions to print/internet media)

jaketapper2 karma

You'd have to ask Jay Carney. When he's done that in the past the explanation usually is that TV reporters almost always get to ask questions and it's good to spread the wealth, as it were.

hofbraunhaus2 karma

Despite moving to CNN, are you still writing jokes for Jimmy Kimmel?

jaketapper8 karma

I never wrote jokes for Kimmel! He reached out to me before he performed at the White House Correspondents' Dinner and asked if I would help him judge the jokes in terms of how the room would receive them! I did suggest that he kibosh a few of them -- as he later discussed.


eternal2182 karma

Most controversial story you have covered?

jaketapper2 karma

Maybe Terri Schiavo?

seanc_wa2 karma

Time Warner is the largest media corp in the world and owns CNN how does that effect your stories? As a person that watches zero propaganda news stations your answer could change my mind.

jaketapper2 karma

Not at all.

julimaria2 karma

Have you ever met Rush Limbaugh? Do you ever get any jazz from other journalists because he speaks highly of you? FWIW, I think people from both sides respect you because you are one of the few unbiased journalists today and your political leanings are not visible.

jaketapper2 karma

Never met him. He's bashed me, too!

Dolanduck12 karma

Are you jelly of the new fox news over sized ipad news room?

jaketapper5 karma

I don't think they're ready for my jelly.

reagansquad1 karma

Why was Ron Paul blacklisted by mainstream media despite polling as high as 2nd?


jaketapper4 karma

he wasn't....I interviewed him at ABC News in 2008 and he was on CNN then and ive seen him recently on air here too.

LTVOLT1 karma

Hey Jake, I think you are one of the best, credible journalists of your time- You seem to truly care about getting to the bottom of issues rather than the softball questions. I thank you for that and I hope you keep it up! Can you think of any times where politicians blatantly lied to you and you wanted to call them out?

jaketapper3 karma

Thank you. Honestly, it happens quite often, but they often justify the lies in their minds so they don't think they're lies. It's often partisan nonsense or ends-justify-the-means pablum.

snapmedown1 karma

Nate Silver recently said that he didn't join the New York Times to make friends. How about you? Have you made friends with your CNN colleagues? Wolf Blitzer seems like a cool guy to shoot pool with.

jaketapper11 karma

I joined CNN to report and anchor. But I have a lot of friends here -- both ones I knew before, and new ones, both on screen and off. Wolf and I have not shot pool, but we are supposed to go out to dinner with our wives soon, as soon as our government gets its act together.

im_buhwheat1 karma

How long do you think it will be before you are obscolete and out of a job?

How long do you think the public will settle for bullshit news used to influence instead of inform?

We have the internet now, your days are numbered.

jaketapper2 karma

Tip: if you're going to rail at the media for being anachronistic because of the internet, try to spell three-syllable-words correctly.