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Some staffers on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper are seething about the host’s conduct following a COVID diagnosis earlier this month.
The CNN star tested positive for the virus while at the network’s D.C. bureau on Monday, May 9, just prior to taping his 4 p.m. ET show, but according to two people familiar with the situation, he did not go home immediately, incensing some colleagues.
By Tuesday, Tapper was replaced on-air with Dana Bash anchoring his show while he recovered at home. On Wednesday, however, he returned to the show from what appeared to be his home studio. “This happened in the same week that the country was mourning the millionth death due to COVID, which Jake covered on his show,” one pissed-off staffer told Confider.
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Tapper, who is known to slide into reporters’ DMs to lash out at them for their coverage of him and CNN—and can be quite robust in his “feedback,” according to two people on the receiving end of his missives—was so freaked the story would leak that he had The Most Trusted Name in News’ enormous PR team working overtime to run interference on media outlets that called to ask for comment.
Although some of Tapper’s colleagues were irate that he remained in the building even after testing positive, CNN maintains that he followed protocol.
“Testing is voluntary to enter our offices. It is mandatory to enter the studios. He tested shortly before his show,” a network spokesperson told Confider. “When he was notified of the positive result, he asked CNN execs what to do and then followed it to the letter—he double-masked and isolated, did the show solo in a flash studio (single-person enclosed room) and went home immediately after.”
The flack added: “Everyone on The Lead team was notified during their pre-show call that day. Jake had only been in direct contact with a few others, who were also notified.”
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