Jake Tapper Taps Into Racist Trope

Even though the distance between El Paso and occupied Jerusalem is 11,876 km,  during the August 4, 2019 morning CNN State of the Union program about the El Paso massacre, CNN’s Jake Tapper linked Palestinians to White Nationalists.

To quote Beto O’Rourke, “what the f—?”

Tapper pontificated the following: “You hear conservatives talk all the time—rightly, in my view—about the tone set by, well, the Arab world, …The Palestinians and the way they talk about Israelis, justifying—in the same way you’re doing, no direct link between what the leader says and the violence to some poor Israeli girl in a pizzeria—but the idea you’re validating this hatred.”

What a convoluted tangle of Byzantine syntax into which the Tapper has tapped?

To draw a parallel between White Supremacists and Palestinians, a nation under a brutal occupation and 71 years of racist apartheid, is the height of hypocrisy.

Israel is led by racist rulers and rabbis egging their citizens to kill Palestinians because (they claim) the Torah sanctions these killings and it is kosher to do so.

The day after Tapper’s racist comment, NY Times’ Bret Stephens made similar remarks on MSNBC.

No surprise there. Not only does The New York Times’ support of Israel have a very long history, but its refusal to hold Israel and her successive U.S. Congressional and Administration underlings accountable for Israel’s 71 years of crimes is duly noted.

One has to wonder whether Tapper and Stephens, ardent supporters and apologists for Israel, received their marching orders from Israel’s foreign ministry. Better yet, did they, on the previous day, the Holy Shabat Day, attend services in their respective synagogues where, I have no doubt, love, peace, harmony, and atonement for personal and communal sins are preached?

Jake’s demeanor and tone is full of sanctimonious diatribes akin to Fox’s Hannity and Company. His tone is combative; his questions are misleading; his deportment is haughty; and the hectoring of his guests is as bad as it gets. Whether it is Fox News, MSNBC, or CNN, Jake and his ilk represent a new breed of impresarios promoting the dictums of their fossilized bankrupt Republican and Democrat political affiliations.

Unfortunately journalism has morphed into a theater of the absurd, and these high priests of washed out opinions, a new a breed of arrogant promoter-entertainers, fancy themselves as masters of ceremony in one hour segments during which wall-to-wall commercials leave the viewers with perhaps 22 minutes of partisan propaganda of the worst kind.

It is also ironic that only recently avowed Neo-Nazi/White Nationalist Richard Spencer was accorded a platform on Tapper‘s show. Sana Saeed aptly observed how “It’s cool how Jake Tapper compares occupied Palestinians to white nationalists while he’s actually giving [a white supremacist] a platform on his own show.” And activist Linda Sarsour opined that “Somehow Jake Tapper still finds a way to bring the Arab world and Palestinians into a conversation about WHITE SUPREMACISTS [sic] murdering innocent people.”

Under the rather lengthy heading (Height of Unethical Journalism,’ Say Critics, After CNN’s Jake Tapper Uses Racist El Paso Shooter to Attack Palestinians),  Common Dream’s Online News Eoin Higgins wrote the following on Monday, August 5, 2019.

According to data from Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, at least 3,480 Palestinians have died at the hands of Israeli security forces in the last decade versus 127 Israelis at the hands of Palestinians. Of the 3,480, a total 782 were children and 338 were women.

“Aside from everything else,” said cartoonist and author Eli Valley, “the apt comparison would be to Trump’s ideological compatriots in the Israeli government who spew racist, dehumanizing, anti-Arab invective that reverberates throughout a society upheld by state-sanctioned violence.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regularly relies on demonization of the Palestinians for political gain and has touted Israel’s southern wall as the only thing stopping “severe attacks by Sinai terrorists, and something much worse, a flood of illegal migrants from Africa.”

Sunday’s remarks from Tapper came in for criticism on social media as activists and observers noted the connection between the president’s bigotry and Tapper’s Islamophobia.

“This is the height of unethical journalism Jake Tapper—you invoke Palestinians and Arabs as a comparison to white nationalist violence in the US?” said AJ+‘s Saeed. “This is blatant anti-Arab bigotry and Islamophobia. CNN needs to take action.”

Writer Derek Davidson said “that Tapper’s pretenses of objectivity made the CNN anchor’s comments even worse. Tapper is the worst person on cable news, …At least the Foxcrowd doesn’t fake objectivity.”

And Nima Shirazi, “one of the hosts of the podcast Citations Needed, which targets media lies and propaganda, tweeted that he and his co-host had let things slip on Tapper of late [adding] I am sorry to admit that Adam Johnson and I have been insufficiently hard on Jake Tapper to date,” said Shirazi. “This guy is primordial scum.”

Adam Horowitz, Mondoweiss’s fine editor, opined that: “These comments are a sad reminder to me of the cultural signifiers that ‘Palestinians’ play in US popular/media culture. It’s also a useful reminder as to who creates and deploys those signifiers.”

Tapper was also charged with ignorance “and moral and intellectual dishonesty.” Max Blumenthal states that Tapper “wins the false equivalency cup, conflating Palestinian violence against the apartheid state that besieges, occupies and slaughters them en masse with sadistic killing sprees by white Western fascists against defenseless immigrants. The definition of hasbara.”

In November 2018 CNN CEO Jeff Zucker fired Marc Lamont Hill for criticizing Israel in a non-CNN forum. For calling for a one-state solution, Zucker claimed that “Marc Lamont Hill’s anti-Israel comments don’t jibe with the network’s anti-hate coverage.”

Will Zucker fire Jake Tapper, a member of his tribe, for his hateful comments? I doubt it.

Unfortunately, the State of the Union is in a dire condition. Whether it is Trump, the Talking Heads, partisan politicians, or second rate journalists, tapping into our most loathsome sentiments Jake-style is a primordially abominable hypocrisy laden with bigotry and preached by the journalistic scum.

Raouf J. Halaby is a Professor Emeritus of English and Art. He is a writer, photographer, sculptor, an avid gardener, and a peace activist. halabys7181@outlook.com

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