When Jake Tapper first arrived to cover the White House for ABC News after the 2008 election, I figured he was just another liberal reporter who would go easy on the man most of the Washington press corps had voted for.
I knew he had spent several years reporting for Slate, the left-leaning online magazine, and figured he’d feel loathe to disturb the equanimity of the new Democratic administration.
I’ve rarely been more pleased to be so wrong.
Tapper is a relentless reporter who works days, nights, and weekends to expose hypocrisy, uncover truth, and dispense his findings eloquently to the public. Unlike much of the White House press corps, particularly the TV types, he worked sources and broke news that hadn’t simply been handed to him on background by the White House to make President Obama look good and keep reporters satiated.
He was one of the few pit bulls in the White House briefing room, attacking the specious logic of spin every day without worrying whether someone in the West Wing would refuse his calls as a result.
And, I can tell you, I have absolutely no idea from his comments or questions what his politics are. He genuinely seems to aspire to the true ideal of journalism, to uncover facts without letting personal opinions get in the way. Unfortunately for the cause of White House coverage, he’s moved on to CNN and his own show. But he’s still doing important work there.
Anyway, that’s a long introduction to his latest story, which exposes the questionable junket to Azerbaijan of three top Obama aides who still have the ear of the president.
They were no doubt paid handsomely – and, given that they traveled halfway around the world, probably excessively – to attend a conference serving as splendid PR for a repressive regime that makes its money from the very petroleum the Obama people supposedly think is destroying the earth. In addition to Azerbaijan, sponsors of the conference included BP, Conoco Phillips, and Chevron.
Not a solar panel in sight, one would presume.
Here’s the report.