Jake Tapper On CNN Rumor: ‘I Couldn’t Be Happier Where I Am Right Now’


Intrepid DC gossip reporter Betsy Rothstein reports, for FishbowlDC, that CNN is trying to woo Jake Tapper away from the friendly confines of ABC News’ White House beat. CNN sources have declined to comment for Mediaite, but Tapper tells us he’s happy where he is, and ABC News says they’re happy with where Jake is. That doesn’t mean we can’t read between the boilerplate.

Betsy Rothstein, love her or not, is well-connected in DC, and she reports:

CNN is trying to lure ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper away from ABC. FishbowlDC has learned that Executive V.P. and Managing Editor for CNN Worldwide Mark Whitaker and CNN Senior V.P. Amy Entelis have been making serious overtures to Tapper and his reps. We hear the network is trying their best to figure out a “game changer” and have their eyes on Tapper.

CNN has struggled to make ratings gains in a crowded cable news market, and Jake Tapper would, indeed, be a “game changer” whose journalistic chops would enhance the just-the-facts brand that the network cultivates. He has the added benefit of being a superstar in the news business, without the superstar temperament that can derail a big move like this.

Such a move could also be attractive to a talent like Jake Tapper, who has twice been passed over as host of This Week, and has a limited number of opportunities to make an impact at a broadcast network. On CNN, he would be a very big fish, in a well-respected pond.

ABC News seems to recognize Tapper’s value. ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider told us, in an email, that he’s “Hardly surprised to read about all kinds of poachers being interested in Jake Tapper – that’s what happens when you are at the top of your profession. We are thrilled Jake works for ABC News and expect him to have a leadership role here for a long time to come.”

Without denying the overtures, Jake told us, via email, that “Being the White House correspondent for ABC News is a dream job, one I’m focused on 100%. I couldn’t be happier where I am right now.”

Whether he remains such a happy camper probably has little to do with the size of the truckload of cash that CNN offers him (ABC has deep dollar dump trucks, too), but rather, on the trajectory of the career path they, or ABC, offer. Betsy speculates that Jake may be in line for the next This Week opening, but a daily newshour at a network like CNN is also mighty attractive, and right in his wheelhouse.

Whoever ends up with Tapper is going to need a big truck, and an even bigger pitch.

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