For three weeks running Jake Tapper has done what no other news program on CNN has managed to do in a very long time: beat Fox News. The Washington Examiner reports that Tapper’s ratings have jumped a remarkable 75% during the 4 p.m. hour and that “The Lead with Jake Tapper” is winning the all-important 25-54 age demo, even against Fox; although Neil Cavuto’s Fox program still grabs more total viewers.
For three consecutive weeks, CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” has topped FNC’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” in the key demo 25-54 (182,000 vs 162,000).
“The Lead” also outperformed MSNBC at 4 p.m. (182,000 vs. 61,000) during this time period (12/22/14 – 1/9/15).
Compared to the same time period a year ago, “The Lead” is up 75 percent.
Certainly Tapper is benefitting from Big News Events around the world, but he has done so in a way no one else at CNN is even coming close to duplicating. Big News lifts all boats. No question. Nevertheless, Tapper’s success is an outlier at CNN. It is also no surprise to anyone familiar with his work.
Tapper is succeeding for a number of reasons, but primarily his success is the result of trust. First at ABC News and now at CNN, Tapper has spent years building a reservoir of goodwill and trust among people of all political stripes. No hidden agendas. No pushing of phony narratives. Tapper even digs into stories the rest of the mainstream media, including his own CNN, won’t touch or have already laughed off as non-news. Benghazi is a prime example.
Tapper actually represents what CNN advertises itself as: an unbiased, objective, and professional news outlet. And the results appear to be finally paying off — his gold standard reputation is actually doing the impossible: getting people to watch CNN.
The question, then, is why isn’t CNN attempting to bloom a thousand Jake Tappers — a thousand more successes? Why is almost every other CNN news hour filled with the likes of Carol Costello, Ashleigh Banfield, Don Lemon, Erin Burnett, Chris Cuomo, Wolf Blitzer, Christiane Amanpour, Brooke Baldwin, and a handful of others I’m forgetting?
That’s a rhetorical question.
Whether it’s Jake Tapper or Fox News, the news media is an institution is so corrupted, certain successes won’t be duplicated.
Big Government agenda first. Ratings second.
Regardless, even in the left-wing swamp of CNN, Tapper has kept his integrity intact. No small thing. His success is well-deserved, it’s good for America, and great for his chosen profession.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC