- Congresswoman Elise Stefanik claimed Jake Tapper lied about refusing to have her on her show.
- Stefanik shared an email from someone from Tapper’s staff inviting her to appear on the show.
- Tapper didn’t deny the email, but implied it was a mistake by a staffer.
- Opinion: while the situation is embarrassing for Tapper, it doesn’t rise to the level of destroying his credibility. It’s not certain that Tapper lied, and even if he did one time, his history of credibility is still significant.
On the left you can see Stefanik placed quotes from Tapper where he says he wont have people on his show who hold to election conspiracy theories. He specifically calls out Elise Stefanik by name. On the right, Stefanik shares an email where someone from Jake’s staff invites her to be on the show.
Jake Tapper’s Response
I can’t account for every email from my excellent bookers whose job it is to present me with as many options as possible. I have just refused to allow any of the Liars, such as Rep Stefanik, on air. Kind of stunning to see her proudly identify as a conspiracy theorist. https://t.co/Whn3KiwEFQ— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) June 4, 2021
Did Jake Tapper Lie?
It’s possible, and maybe even likely, that Tapper did a little dishonest moral grandstanding here, lying about not being willing to have Stefanik on his show. It was apparently a senior employee who reached out to Stefanik, and it’s hard to imagine she made this kind of mistake. Tapper didn’t deny that Stefanik shared a real email from his employee, and Tapper didn’t even explicitly say the employee acted against his wishes.
It’s very possible Tapper was dishonest here though we can’t know for sure. It’s certainly possible his producer made a mistake as even high level employees aren’t perfect. It’s also very possible Tapper just forgot Stefanik was invited to be on the show when he spoke to the New York Times. His show is on 5 days a week and he has countless guests, so it’s reasonable to think he may have forgot Stefanik was invited.
Opinion: Tapper’s Credibility Remains
For the reasons explained above we don’t have proof that Jake Tapper lied here. He could’ve just forgot or his employee could have made a mistake. He also could have lied about it. But say, just as a thought experiment that we’ve caught Tapper in a dishonest moment. Would that immediately destroy his credibility? That’s not clear. Every honest human being will admit they’ve lied. As a Psychology Today article says, “The psychological evidence is in: We all lie…”.3 If we want someone on TV who never lies we will have no one on TV.
Again, we don’t know for sure if Tapper lied. But we must also take into account a person’s past actions to determine their overall credibility. Does Tapper, like some public figures, have a pattern of lying? Or are they credible overall? Here, Tapper seems to shine. Jake Tapper is known for telling uncomfortable truths, being one of the rare figures willing to anger his own viewers (which are largely democratic). See below for a recent example.
Figures willing to criticize both parties are rare in this day and age. It gives them a credibility few share in America. If we threw them out for one lie, we’d have nothing but partisan hacks left. In our opinion, even if Jake Tapper did lie once (and we don’t know that he did), his history of credibility is still relevant.