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CNN host Jake Tapper tried to convince Republican congressional candidate Sean Parnell not to run against incumbent Rep. Connor Lamb (D-Pa.) according to a Twitter message obtained by Fox News.
In the message, Tapper dropped the suggestion that Parnell, a U.S. Army combat vet and Purple Heart recipient who recently delivered a powerful speech during the Republican National Convention, would do better running in a safer GOP district, the outlet reported.
The network added that the text was sent by a source close to, but not affiliated with, Parnell’s campaign who also believes that Tapper was engaging in political activism unethically as a supposedly unbiased journalist.
According to text message screenshots posted online by Brent Scher, executive editor for the Washington Free Beacon, Tapper was asked, point-blank, “Is it true you asked Sean Parnell not to run against Connor Lamb?” The CNN host responded simply, “Nope.”
.@jaketapper told @RichardGrenell there was no truth to story that he tried to convince Sean Parnell to run in a different district than Conor Lamb's.
Here's the DM to Parnell where Tapper admits exactly that. Scoop from @briansflood https://t.co/gPHWNNG5cb pic.twitter.com/ouVkNQ642g
— Brent Scher (@BrentScher) September 10, 2020
“They are saying they have texts from you. Not true?” Tapper is asked, but no response is shown.
But another text screenshot posted by Scher allegedly from Tapper to Parnell says, “And best of luck in your race. For the record, I wasn’t trying to talk you out of running — I was trying to talk you into running in a safer R district! Lol.”
The message supports earlier reporting by Breitbart News citing “sources familiar with the interactions” and noting that Tapper “communicated his views on how Parnell should not run against Lamb in a variety of communication forms, including in text messages, Twitter direct messages, and in a phone call.”
Former acting Director Richard Grenell noted Sunday that the CNN host denied he had advised Parnell not to run against Lamb.
I just asked @jaketapper “Is it true you asked Sean Parnell to not run against Conor Lamb?”
He told me “nope”.
So there is his answer. https://t.co/Nh8LdVKmrD
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) September 6, 2020
“If true, @cnn must deal with [Tapper] very firmly. Political activism from the media is unacceptable!” Grenell added.
“It sure looks like @JakeTapper lied when he told @RichardGrenell he never tried to convince Parnell not to run against Conor Lamb, a vulnerable Democrat and friend of Tapper,” The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis noted online.
It’s not clear if CNN will allow Tapper to report on the Parnell-Lamb race, Fox News noted.
“He boxed himself into a corner,” the source told the network. “He wanted him to primary a Republican instead of running against Lamb. He was looking out for his Democrat friend.”
“CNN is experts at smearing people, you’ve got their Sunday morning anchor telling you what you should or shouldn’t do… there are other candidates who would be like, ‘Alright, I don’t need CNN coming after me,’” the source added.
The story comes on the heels of a series of reports by Fox News host Tucker Carlson exposing various CNN figures as engaging in political activities.
On Tuesday he played audio clips of CNN boss Jeffrey Zucker demonstrating duplicitous behavior in trying to gain access to then-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump through his then-lawyer and longtime friend, Michael Cohen, without it being publicized.
After Trump’s victory, Zucker has often rebuked the president publicly and referred to him in disparaging terms.
Carlson also noted on his program Wednesday that CNN host Chris Cuomo helped coach Cohen through tough interviews over the alleged scandal involving the president and porn star Stormy Daniels.
‘Frauds’: Tucker plays leaked audio of Chris Cuomo coaching Michael Cohen ahead of interview https://t.co/9CjrxB5n8t
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 10, 2020
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