White House aide Stephen Miller appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper and fireworks flew from the get-ego.
For 12 1/2 minutes, Tapper and Miller engaged in single combat with Tapper trying to get Miller to answer questions about the book Fire and Fury while Miller excoriated CNN for its hateful, biased coverage of the president.
After Tapper asked about Steve Bannon’s involvement in the Trump campaign and presidency, Miller said, “I think that what the point is that his role has been greatly exaggerated, whereas the president hasn’t gotten the due that he deserves for the movement he put together to tap into the kinds of people whose life concerns don’t get a lot of attention on CNN. Not a lot of hours of coverage on this TV talking about the working class construction workers who have lost their jobs to foreign labor.”
He continued, “There is not a lot of coverage on this TV about the people getting slaughtered in sanctuary cities. You don’t do a lot of human interest stories about immigrant communities under siege from MS-13. He tapped into a reality that is happening in this country that is not covered on this network. And I know you think I’m interrupting you, but I think the american people deserve to have two or three minutes of the truth.”
Tapper also asked about President Trump’s tweets declaring that he is a “very stable genius.”
He asked, “Do you think tweets like that help or hurt the cause that the president is stable and up for the job?”
Miller responded, “Not only do I think they help it, but I think in the toxic environment you’ve created here in CNN and cable news, which is a crisis of legitimacy for your network, and we saw it, of course, with the extremely fake news that you reported about the Don Jr. and Wikileaks story. That was a huge embarrassment for your network. Just like the huge embarrassment you had when you got the Comey testimony wrong.”
Tapper appeared to be flustered at times, constantly interrupting Miller and becoming visibly angry when Miller refused to play his “gotchya” game.
Finally, Tapper sent Miller off with a rather unprofessional dismissal:
Later, Tapper accused Miller of “not answering the questions.”
Miller responded, “You have 24 hours a day of anti-Trump material and you’re not going to give three minutes for the American people…”
Finally, Tapper cut off Miller, saying, “I get it. There’s one viewer you care about right now and you’re being obsequious and you’re being a factotum in order to please him, okay? I think I wasted enough of my viewers’ time.”
Reporters are supposed to ask questions to elicit information from their guests. Tapper didn’t care much what Miller had to say. His goal was not to elicit information but to attack. His “questions” weren’t questions as much as they were talking points on the book he wanted the viewers to hear. He didn’t expect Miller to confirm anything that Steve Bannon had to say. He just wanted to get all the salacious, damaging snippets from the book on the record.
For his part, Miller did his job. His attacks on CNN tried to deflect attention from the damaging statements Tapper was throwing out by tainting the source. CNN is a ripe target for Trump’s base and Miller didn’t disappoint.