Across the U.S., people of conscience are mourning the victims of last weekend’s white supremacist violence in El Paso and processing how white supremacy continues to wreak havoc on our communities—from policy to state violence to white nationalist terror.
However, CNN anchor Jake Tapper distorted the violence in El Paso by invoking occupied Palestinians and Arabs out of nowhere and comparing them to the white nationalist shooter1—the same one who said he was inspired by the Christchurch shooter’s attacks on Mosques earlier this year.2
With the media and government tuned in, we must stand with the victims’ families and hold Tapper accountable for a manipulative attempt at downplaying the real danger at hand: white supremacist violence.
We’re teaming up with Jewish Voice For Peace to let CNN President Jeff Zucker know that this kind of casual anti-Arab and Islamophobic bigotry—particularly in the aftermath of an explicitly anti-immigrant mass shooting—is unconscionable.
By inserting Palestinians and Arabs in a conversation about white supremacist violence, Tapper pushed the Islamophobic “terrorist” narrative about Muslims and Arabs that’s been mainstreamed over the past few decades.
But this isn’t the first time Tapper has expressed Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian rhetoric. Jake Tapper has often shared the words of anti-Muslim commentators and far-right figures on social media.3
This also isn’t the first time he has used his pedestal to distort breaking news moments.
On the morning of the Supreme Court’s historically Islamophobic pro-Muslim Ban ruling in Trump v. Hawaii, Tapper pushed right-wing talking points by pressing Muslim Attorney General Keith Ellison on past statements about Louis Farrakhan—instead of focusing on the Ban.4
And—after a near-unanimous UN vote to condemn Trump’s moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—he devoted a segment to repeating Trump’s talking points and attacking international criticism of the vote.5
This has to stop.
For the past 36 hours, Tapper has been in hot water. Twitter has been alight with folks from all walks of life criticizing his comments—including Rep. Rashida Tlaib. As of right now, he’s doubled-down and has yet to apologize—but we can turn up the pressure.
We can drive a barrage of demands directly to CNN and bring this tragic moment back to where it should be—focused on the families who just lost loved ones because of white supremacist violence.
1. "'Height of Unethical Journalism,' Say Critics, After CNN's Jake Tapper Uses Racist El Paso Shooter to Attack Palestinians," Common Dreams, Aug 5, 2019
2. "What induces men to imitate the Christchurch massacre?" The Guardian, Aug 5, 2019
4. "CNN's Tapper has testy exchange with Ellison over Farrakhan," The Hill, June 26, 2018
5. "‘Whataboutism’ Runs Amok as Jake Tapper Rattles Off Trump Talking Points," Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, Dec 14, 2017
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