comScore Jake Tapper Defends Gun Violence Question That Charles Blow Attacked As 'Horrible'

Jake Tapper Defends Gun Violence Question That Charles Blow Attacked As ‘Horrible’

CNN anchor Jake Tapper defended himself from criticism that he asked a “horrible question” of New Jersey Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker in the wake of the Virginia Beach gun massacre, a criticism that was leveled by New York Times columnist Charles Blow.

At issue was Tapper’s interview with Booker in the aftermath of the Virginia Beach mass shooting, in which Tapper asked the candidate “How would your plan have stopped this tragedy, if at all?”

When Booker responded more generally, Tapper followed up by asking “What steps specifically would have stopped the massacre in Virginia Beach?”, but Booker remained focused on gun violence in the aggregate.

That interview came up on Friday night’s edition of Real Time with Bill Maher, and Blow reacted by telling host Bill Maher that Journalists have to stop asking that horrible question. That is a horrible question.”

“Because what we’re doing is picking out one incident out of 30,000 deaths per year and saying ‘How could you solve this one thing?’” Blow continued. “That is not the objective of gun control. The objective of gun control is to reduce capacity to kill people who should not be killed. And once you reframe it that way, maybe the proposal I have today will not solve that problem, but it cuts into this massive number of people that we are losing to gun violence.”

On Sunday, Tapper defended himself from the criticism on Twitter, first by tweeting Mediaite’s article on the issue and explaining “I asked which proposed gun laws might actually have had an impact on preventing a gun violence tragedy.”

Then, in response to criticism from Little Green FootballsCharles Johnson, Tapper pointed out that he had asked a similar question of Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and been given specifics.

That interview took place after Booker’s, and on the same day that former Deputy Scot Peterson was charged over his conduct during the Parkland shooting.

“Are you proposing anything that would have stopped what happened in Virginia Beach or Parkland?” Tapper asked Klobuchar.

“Of course,” Klobuchar said. “Well, each shooting is different, but you have to do a combination of things. The magazines which were involved with Virginia Beach — I have long been a supporter of banning the sale of these magazines.”

Klobuchar then went on to describe other measures, including those meant to reduce gun violence more broadly.

Johnson pointed out that Tapper’s question to Booker was narrower than the one he’d asked Klobuchar. Tapper pointed out that it wasn’t narrower by much, and defended his questions as reasonable, and in Booker’s case particularly, “sincere.”

Watch Tapper’s exchange with Klobuchar above, via CNN.

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