CNN anchor Jake Tapper offered a rare defense of White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany after many members of the media, including his own network colleagues, spread a misleading quote from Thursday’s press briefing.
McEnany reiterated President Trump’s strong stance on wanting children to be going back to school in the fall amid a fiery debate about how educators can prevent the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
“The science should not stand in the way of this, but as Dr. Scott Atlas said — I thought this was a good quote, ‘Of course, we can do it. Everyone else in the Western world, our peer nations are doing it. We are the outlier here,'” McEnany said, quoting the former Stanford Medical Center neurology chief.
“The science is very clear on this. For example, you look at the JAMA pediatric study of 46 pediatric hospitals in North America that said the risk of critical illness from COVID is far less for children than the seasonal flu. The science is on our side here. We encourage localities and states to just simply follow the science. Open our schools,” she continued.
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After playing a clip of that exchange on his show, Tapper corrected CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who knocked the press secretary for having an “alternative facts kind of moment.”
“If I could just say, Sanjay,” Tapper interjected. “I think she was just trying to say that the science shouldn’t stand in the way because the science is on our side. I don’t know that all of the science is on their side- and certainly, this White House, their respect for science knows bounds, let’s put it that way, but I think that’s what she was getting at.”
However, Dr. Gupta wasn’t the only CNN journalist to misinterpret McEnany.
CNN’s chief anti-Trump reporter Jim Acosta tweeted about what McEnany said by suggesting she was anti-science.
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“The White House Press Secretary on Trump’s push to reopen schools: ‘The science should not stand in the way of this,'” the liberal reporter tweeted.
Acosta later added, “McEnany went on to say ‘the science is on our side here.'”
His misleading tweet, though, went on to get nearly 40,000 retweets while his follow-up tweet that provided the much-needed context received less than 800.
Among those who shared Acosta’s initial tweet include CNN national security analyst Sam Vinograd, CNN contributor Paul Begala, CNN analyst Max Boot, and CNN analyst Brian Karem.
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CBS White House correspondent Weijia Jiang, NBC News reporter Josh Lederman, The Guardian, and The Washington Post all similarly omitted McEnany’s actual support of the science.
Without directly addressing Acosta’s tweet, Tapper slammed the spread of the distorted quote urging everyone to “read the ENTIRE McEnany comment.”
“I’m not taking a position on the matter but be fair,” the CNN anchor wrote.
Earlier this week, “The Lead” anchor tore into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic after the Democrat debuted a poster touting his apparent accomplishments.
“New York’s Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo seems to be on something of a victory tour congratulating the state and himself for defeating the virus,” Tapper began before pointing to the poster filled with “inside jokes” that Cuomo is selling.
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“There are no illustrations, however, of the more than 32,000 dead New Yorkers, the highest death toll by far of any state. No rendering on that poster of the criticism that Governor Cuomo ignored warnings, no depiction of the study that he could have saved thousands of lives had he and Mayor De Blasio acted sooner, no painting of his rescinded order that nursing homes take all infected patients in,” the CNN anchor continued.
Tapper accused Cuomo of “revisionism” and “crowing,” which he insisted was “offending a lot of New Yorkers.”
CNN has largely refrained from offering critical coverage of Gov. Cuomo, brother of network anchor Chris, throughout the pandemic, largely ignoring the growing New York nursing home controversy that ties one of his directives to the deaths of thousands of senior citizens.