CNN’s Jake Tapper infuriates coworkers after testing positive for COVID and staying to do show anyway

There’s nothing quite like an errant case of COVID-19 to inject a little collegial tension into the workplace dynamic—especially at a place like CNN.

This is something Jake Tapper, one of the network’s star hosts, has learned the hard way. After testing positive for the Fauci Fever, Tapper decided to stay in the studio to tape his regular weekday show—a decision that has incurred the ire of numerous CNN staffers.

Turns out Tapper returned a positive test for COVID at CNN’s Washington bureau on Monday of last week, just before taping his regularly-scheduled program at 4 p.m. That bit of industrious dedication to his work, which might have been admirable in a less neurotic age, apparently angered at least two staffers at the network, according to a report by The Daily Beast.

One staffer wasn’t shy about trashing Tapper for his tone-deaf attitude, telling The Daily Beast that “[t]his happened in the same week that the country was mourning the millionth death due to COVID, which Jake covered on his show.”

The insensitive bastard.

The reaction on Twitter was swift.

In what was seemingly a concession to his health status, Tapper took some time off on Tuesday, and network host Dana Bash covered for him on that evening’s episode. On Wednesday, however, he returned to his hosting duties from what looked to be a home studio.

According to The Daily Beast’s report, Tapper had CNN’s PR department “working overtime” to cover for his unfortunate health lapse. If that’s true, it suggests that the COVID hygiene cult over at CNN has truly reached Jim Jones levels of insanity.

The network, however, denies that part of The Daily Beast’s story, and affirmed in a statement that Tapper had followed CNN’s COVID protocols “to the letter.”

“Testing is voluntary to enter our offices,” a CNN spokesperson explained. “It is mandatory to enter the studios. [Jake Tapper] tested shortly before his show.

“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. 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.”

In a normal world, that would settle the matter very satisfactorily. But at CNN, it seems, the network’s intellectual sterility has extended so far into the physical realm that even the mere presence of the “unclean” in the same building, despite extensive quarantine measures, cannot be tolerated.

All this comes at an especially inopportune time for Tapper, who is vying for the primetime position once occupied by Chris Cuomo. Cuomo was axed after defending his brother, disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, against various sexual harassment allegations, and is now suing CNN for the remaining $18 million of his contract.

Prior to his recent COVID fumble, Tapper was the odds-on favorite to replace Cuomo.

“‘It’s Jake—by a long stretch,” an insider source told Radar. “Jake’s star has been on the rise for a long time.”

And Tapper has very little competition. For a while, it might have seemed Brian Stelter was angling for the position, but that seems unlikely. “The only one who thinks Brian could do 9 pm is Brian himself,” the same source explained.

That’s a sentiment pretty much everyone can appreciate. Let’s hope Jake Tapper gets better real soon.


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Todd Jaquith


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