CNN anchor Jake Tapper opened his network up to intense scrutiny Wednesday after reporting on what went into MLB‘s decision to pull the All-Star Game out of Georgia amid protests over the state’s new election law.
The league announced earlier this week that the Midsummer Classic would be moved to Denver, causing an outcry among Georgia officials and elected Republicans who pointed to the small Atlanta businesses — many of them minority-owned — that would be affected by the departure of the league’s showcase event.
However, Tapper insisted Wednesday that what was getting “lost” in the conversation were the “simple facts” of what would have happened if MLB did not take action.
Citing an “informed source,” Tapper tweeted that “MLB officials made the decision because if they didn’t then the decision would be left to individual players, individual All-Stars, some of whom no doubt would have individually boycotted the game themselves. In short: There was no way to avoid this becoming political.
“If MLB hadn’t acted, individual players would certainly have been asked from now until July whether they were boycotting or not. It would have — arguably — become a bigger issue,” Tapper explained. “So MLB did what they thought was taking one for the team, as it were, trying to protect the individual players and to operate as a cohesive whole, the source tells CNN. Whatever you think of the decision, that was part of the calculation.”
However, Tapper’s critics pointed out a large elephant in the room: The fact that CNN’s world headquarters is also located in Atlanta.
“CNN’s headquarters are in Atlanta,” conservative commentator Stephen Miller pointed out.
“If CNN won’t leave Georgia, will the CNN workers start quitting and boycotting their jobs?” Twitter user Fusilli Spock asked. “CNN was the one spreading & standing behind the original lie, do their employees care?”
“If only someone in media had told the truth about the law, actually informed the public rather than doing their best to help Democrats by simply spitting out ‘Jim Crow 2.0!’ then maybe this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe someone working for a company headquartered in Atlanta …” radio host Derek Hunter wrote.
“Jake, how can you work for a company headquartered in Georgia?” Ted Frank of the Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute pressed the anchor. “Don’t you have a moral obligation to quit and relocate to an Alaska-or Maine-based media company if your employer won’t boycott the state?”
Frank’s tweet appeared to get a rise out of “The Lead” anchor.
“There’s a difference between reporting on why a company made a decision and expressing an opinion about the decision,” Tapper replied. “Thought you were capable of distinguishing but apparently not.”
“Didn’t claim you approved of journalistic harassment techniques on behalf of an activist cause,” Frank told Tapper. “If you’re claiming the question is inappropriate to you and other people who work in Georgia, that’s a reasonable (and correct) answer, but you should state that clearly.”
“Let me state this clearly: go away,” Tapper shot back.
“If you can say that to me, why can’t MLB say that to similar questions?” Frank doubled down. “Also, who would be asking those questions? Are you suggesting that Georgia-based CNN would be above it?”
Tapper had no comeback to those tweets. Instead, according to Frank, the anchor “unfollowed” him on Twitter.