Jake Tapper Is Considered One of the Most Objective Journalists — Does He Have a Political Affiliation?

CNN anchor Jake Tapper moderates the first 2024 Trump-Biden debate. His political history harkens to a date with Monica Lewinsky.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Jun. 27 2024, Published 2:20 p.m. ET

Jake Tapper at the 2019 WarnerMedia upfronts
Source: Getty Images

It’s official — election season is here and the rematch between Donald Trump and Joe Biden is more anxiety-inducing than ever.

Luckily, we have the calm, collected, and seemingly objective Jake Tapper moderating their first debate on June 27, 2024, at 9 p.m. EST. Jake is one of the few reporters who’s a household name, known for his objectivity and fairness in newscasting, as well as being an award-winning journalist.

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Throughout Jake’s professional career, which began in 1992 as a Campaign Press Secretary for a Democratic congressional candidate, his political affiliation and religion have been hot topics for him to tackle. But at the forefront of his fame was an article he wrote about his date with Monica Lewinsky, just weeks before the news of her affair with former President Clinton broke.

CNN moderator Jake Tapper speaks to the crowd attending the Democratic Presidential Debate at the Fox Theatre July 31, 2019
Source: Getty Images
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Jake Tapper has stated that he doesn’t have an official political affiliation, even if his views seem to lean more liberal.

America is a weird place for politics — there are people on the right and the left, Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals. While that all would seem to be synonymous, only one actually denotes a political party, and to have an official political affiliation, one has to register.

But Jake Tapper takes his job as a journalist seriously — he tries to remain as neutral as possible, which is why he’s such a highly lauded moderator during political debates.

In 2008, “no mainstream journalist was tougher on Obama during the campaign,” according to the National Review. “Considering the fact that much of the media gave Obama the kid-glove treatment, Tapper’s reporting was essential.”

However, he’s also tough on Republican candidates, most notably during the 2015 Republican presidential primary debate, which had a record 23.1 million viewers.

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Despite his objectivity in reporting, however, Jake’s career began in the Democratic sect of the White House. He then worked for liberal-leaning publications, such as Salon, NPR, The New York Times, and more.

He was also very critical of the Bush administration early on, in addition to his stance against gun violence, proving his more liberal views. Even still, he’s considered one of the most moderate journalists at CNN and in the mainstream media as a whole.

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In fact, he confirmed this in a 2021 tweet about a Newsmax host who said, “If you are Jewish and you are a Democrat and you are living in America today, how do you support an administration that turns its back on your home country?" We have to note that Newsmax circulates far-right propaganda, so it isn't considered a credible source.

Jake responded, “I don’t belong to any political party but I am Jewish and newsflash: my home country is the United States. To suggest otherwise is bigotry.”

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Religion and antisemitism are major topics of concern for Jake Tapper.

Jake Tapper was born and raised Jewish outside of Philadelphia. He went to arguably the most popular Jewish summer camp, Camp Ramah, in the Poconos, and later attended Akiba Hebrew Academy for his high school education. Judaism has played a major role in Jake’s reporting, in which he’s never afraid to call out antisemitism (and even anti-faith) where he sees it.

When Mitt Romney was criticized for his Christian faith, Jake was equally offended, despite the religion in question not being Judaism. “It [my Jewish education and upbringing] really gave me respect for faith and not just my faith, but all faiths. And so, I have always been acutely aware of my status as a religious minority and been acutely and keenly respectful, or trying to be at least, of other people’s faiths,” Tapper told The Jewish Exponent.

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Jake Tapper interviews Bernie Sanders at SXSW 2018
Source: Getty Images

In Nov. 2023, shortly after the events of Oct. 7, The Jewish Exponent profiled Jake, who went to Israel after the massacre and kidnapping. “Somewhere along the line, it started being taught that Jews cannot be victims,” he said.

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“That’s just what I’m picking up from looking at college campuses and looking at the kind of people that are ripping down the signs of the kidnapping victims … I’m looking at these people to a degree as victims too. They have been taught that there is no humanity in Jewish life, that they can look at a poster of a baby or a 3-year-old who is Jewish, who has been kidnapped, and they do not see humanity in that face.”

Jake Tapper interviews Sarah Palin on his CNN 'Politics on Tap' series
Source: Getty Images
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Jake Tapper went on a date with Monica Lewinsky shortly before news of her affair with Bill Clinton broke.

Perhaps what catapulted Jake from political intern and stereotypical journalist into award-winning household fame was his work at the Washington City Paper, which included his Jan. 1998 article titled, “I Dated Monica Lewinsky.” In the article, he describes Monica kindly, sharing that he met her at a going away party for a friend and was keen to ask her out.

They went on one nice date that may or may not have turned into a second date, but between busy schedules and the ensuing media frenzy just a couple of weeks later, their potential relationship fell by the wayside.

Even still, he has nothing but kind things to say about her — “She struck me as cheerful, open, a bit too much a resident of Planet Hap-Hap-Happy in my acerbic view,” he wrote.

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“My mom, in fact, would love her. Dad, too. She’s Jewish, for one thing,” he joked, making light of the “date Jewish” pressure many of us Jews face from our parents. Regardless, he and Monica seem to be on good terms now.

Both are happily married and spoke well of their 1997 date years later in a 2021 interview. So as Jake takes on the task of moderating America’s oldest Presidents, we can be confident that he’ll do a pretty good job.

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