By Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV
CNN anchorman Jake Tapper is one of the most widely-seen journalists in the United States, and a recent tweet of his revealed just how very much careerism it takes to climb the ladder so high.
As the US mainstream media continued its unconstitutional and absurd insistence that both the presidential election is over and that discussion around it must cease, a miffed Tapper took to Twitter on November 9th and issued a clear threat designed to intimidate other journalists into silence on these subjects:
“I truly sympathize with those dealing with losing — it’s not easy — but at a certain point one has to think not only about what’s best for the nation (peaceful transfer of power) but how any future employers might see your character defined during adversity.”
I’m a journalist and I don’t think I’m reading between the lines here when I relate that what I just read is: Journalists should promote the idea that Joe Biden is the undisputed victor or else you will never move up the ladder, or possibly ever even get hired as a journalist again.
Tapper was lambasted by some – obviously for intimidation, enforcing groupthink, hindering free press and free speech, overstepping the bounds of a “fourth estate” which has no formal governmental role in deciding US elections, etc. – but it was mostly unaddressed and tacitly condoned by his MSM colleagues.
One thing that struck me about Tapper’s mindset is: As the French say about Americans – “C’est marche ou crève” (It’s march or die). Very, very true.
But what struck me most – as the previous sentence is old news – is: How will my younger colleagues take this?
Tapper’s threat probably caused a lump in the throat of every mid-20s American journalist who is well-steeped in the most necessary virtues a journalist needs – an insistence on accuracy as well as skepticism — but is also just out of college in a horrible job market, probably deep in tuition-related debt, in a field which is known for being perennially low-paid, who is likely expected to smile for the opportunity to work for free as an intern as there is so much job competition in this exciting field, and who is now realising that a questioning US free press extends for less than a week, per the very privileged and powerful Jake Tapper.
It’s huge incompetence and dereliction of duty if Tapper did not realise that he has responsibilities to defend other journalists during chaotic times, given his privileged position, and absolutely to not to attack and threaten them.
It’s beyond pathetic as a human to go around threatening those who disagree with you about politics, but focusing on Tapper’s role in the labor structure in our craft is more interesting because I think it says a lot about US work culture.
Careerism may be the true US (false, divisive, selfish, unpatriotic) religion
Given their total precariousness it’s hard to not be empathetic with a young journalist, in this age where nothing gets deleted (and when Americans are apparently so politically intolerant), who doesn’t want to take an unpopular position. They certainly have every right to expect those with labor seniority – and the many privileges that go along with that – to lead the way during tough and unstable times.
What’s interesting about Tapper’s tweet is how it also reveals his own mind: maybe this tweet is just Tapper talking to himself about how “employers might see” him, Jake Tapper?
Then the tweet becomes him thinking, “Now think about your job here, Tappy old boy. If Ted Turner says Biden won then who cares about the constitution and the 70 million Trump voters and electoral integrity and democratic checks and balances and the alienation, apathy, anger and abstention rushing to judgement in this already-disputed election might cause? Remember what newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst said: ‘You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war’. So there’s nothing new here – we all do it. Crack the whip, Tappy old boy. How many times have they cracked the whip on you before they let you sit in the big boy chair?”
With that in mind Tapper dutifully sent out a tweet/whip-crack to keep all the other lower workers in line.
And lesser-privileged workers often do get unruly – perhaps they are complaining amongst themselves about increasingly-dangerous working conditions, or talking about the luxurious life of the boss when they haven’t had a raise in years, or they are muttering that the newly announced plans of action are cubicle-drone nonsense which will run the company into the ground, or in this case that many millions of Americans truly are contesting these election results and maybe we should honestly report that? Such anti-1% complaints are why the foreman/overseer so often issues a threat during unstable times (of getting fired, of not getting hired during the next season’s busy work periods, of getting railroaded by cops, etc.).
So we all know people like Tapper, because we have all worked. We all do not like the Tappers – he is a tool of the 1% at our jobs. It’s dangerous to go against the foremen and the Tappers, but the whole idea of post-1917-modelled societies is that we have safety in numbers.
And we do have numbers.
Which is why I can tell Tapper: Take his job and shove it.
(This is a reference to a famous American country song, and while crude: we are working in English here and need to speak their language.)
I don’t want to work at CNN. I don’t even want to be called by CNN for an interview about facts on the ground.
I will happily chitchat and discuss things informally with any journalist, but if you think I want to have to report to people like Jake Tapper, you are totally, totally wrong.
I can sure find a place with better foremen.
And I am hardly alone or exceptional – there are SO MANY great journalists who refuse the lure of careerism that I must use caps there. We are not alone, and Tapper doesn’t realise that: We have big enough numbers, too.
(And wasn’t US democracy especially concerned with minority rights? I guess not for what the Tappers claim is the minority presidential vote in the recent election.)
Tapper also thinks we are powerless – we are not powerless, either.
It’s entirely possible that Tapper is just such a blatant careerist that to him it’s both personally unthinkable and intolerable that others would not be covering the 2020 US election with future employment gains foremost in their minds.
That’s a significant statement to consider, and it is entirely to the demerit of Tapper he has even made us consider it. If he has made a mistake he should clarify it (which he has done yet – his follow-up tweet was nearly as bad as his first), but he still would get demerits because TV journalist are supposed to be clear and understandable the very first time around.
And the US is also just blatantly unstable, which Tapper’s tweet also reminds us:
Even though this is the third election in six which has come under major dispute, what’s not important is dispassionately answering long-standing domestic questions about the integrity of presidential elections, or ensuring ideals such as free press and free votes, but ensuring a “(peaceful transfer of power)”.
Tapper seems to view the US in November 2020 as such a powder keg that totally legitimate questions about the integrity of this election must be tamped down or the United States of America is finished, self-immolated, destroyed, etc.
Is Tapper is saying the US is too unstable to have a transparent vote? If so, that’s a huge, huge, huge problem with the American system.
I disagree: there has been no political violence on or since the election (despite the months of MSM fear-mongering about it). I think that’s a hysterical view which Tapper is manipulatively resorting to so that his candidate wins. Hysteria is the both the American word of 2020 and also a way to intimidate people – via emotional force.
I would finally conclude that it is a careerist view: Tapper wants, above all, power to smoothly transfer from one hand of the duopoly to the other (although it’s true that Trump is a latecomer to the duopoly). Despite all the economic catastrophe, coronavirus health catastrophe, the inner cultural catastrophe of this ongoing disputed election – Jake Tapper is doing just fine, so stop asking questions.
Many will continue to not do so, and we are safe in our numbers.
Lastly, some people may object to my use of “overseer” in the headline, which refers to pre-1917 times in the US (“foreman” refers to modern work culture): I think it’s important to place Tapper in his American historical-linguistic context because we need to be reminded of how careerism is not a 21st century phenomenon. The struggle of workers against unjust managers is something which goes back to the building of the Pyramids, but what would have been the point of using an Arabic word for “overseer”, which only a minuscule minority of readers would understand? The agricultural “overseer” is not used much anymore in America – because it brings up issues of slavery, and few White people can discuss that openly here, much to the chagrin of Blacks – but it is a necessary image to retain in the American consciousness and should not be obliterated from their current era, as pre-modern overseers did so much damage to the 99% for such a long period of time.
This type of pure nonsense is what passes for leftism over here when it is a huge waste of time and space. There are far, far huger issues, such as:
Clearly, Tapper does not believe, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”, which is a summation of the thoughts of the French writer Voltaire by his English biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall and repeated constantly by Americans: all these countries are huge, huge believers in free speech and free press. This makes us fairly question not the patriotism of Tapper but whether he is authentically championing the grassroots values of the broad nation which he is covering, which I believe is a primary role of journalism, because: don’t the elite have enough mouthpieces, already?
Tapper is not alone.
America is in such hysteria, and eliciting such hypocrisy, and is so dangerously divided that a second part in this series is required to address Tapper’s cohorts who think calling for a judicial review of a highly-contested vote merits such an incredible crackdown on human rights.
4 years of anti-Trumpism shaping MSM vote coverage, but expect long fight – November 7, 2020
US partitioned by 2 presidents: worst-case election scenario realized – November 9, 2020
A 2nd term is his if he really wants it, but how deep is Trump’s ‘Trumpism’? – November 10, 2020
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.