The Truth About Jake Tapper

You might know him as the CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent, but there's a lot more to Jake Tapper than that. For one thing, he's well respected by people across the political spectrum and widely praised for his fairness and objectivity, which is a difficult feat to accomplish these days (via The New Republic). The defining difference between Tapper and many of his peers seems to be his loyalty, not to a political party, but to "facts" and "decency," which he said in a 2017 interview with Bill Maher are two areas in which there is no bias (via YouTube).

Unsurprisingly, Tapper's more than 15 years of journalistic excellence has left him not lacking in accolades, including but not limited to: a 2017 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism, the Los Angeles Press Club's Presidents Award for Impact on Media, the Merriman Smith Award, and The Canadian Journalism Foundation's Tribute to Exemplary Journalism (via CNN). However, if you only know him from his work at CNN, you might be surprised to learn how he got his start.

The surprising origin story of Jake Tapper

Before he worked at CNN, or was hailed by GQ as "the realest man" in fake news, or reported from Afghanistan and Iraq for ABC News, his career in journalism started in print. In the '90s, Jake Tapper was working as a freelance writer for a number of publications, including The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, and Moment. In his own words, he worked "literally anywhere that [he] could get a byline" (via The New Republic). Before that, Tapper wanted to be a cartoonist.

In fact, he created caricatures and illustrations for The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, even writing a comic strip called "Capitol Hell" that appeared in Roll Call between 1994 and 2003 (via Roll Call). This passion followed a comic Tapper submitted to his high school's senior yearbook that, when folded in a specific way, revealed male genitalia; a prank that earned him a suspension and community service (via Business Insider). This might not come as much of a surprise to critics of Tapper, however, given his only Politifact fact check that hasn't been deemed either true or mostly true was regarding the comic book origin story of DC Comics' Joker (via Politifact). 

Tapper has since channeled those creative skills into book writing. His second novel is due out in May 2021 and his non-fiction book The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor, is now a major motion picture available to stream on Netflix (via Twitter).