Media Politics
Jake Tapper Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

In this June 20, 2016, photo, CNN news anchor Jake Tapper attends the Museum of the Moving Image's 2016 Industry Tribute in New York. Tapper hosts the weekday CNN afternoon show "The Lead" and Sunday's "State of the Union" interview program.

October 19, 2017

CNN's Jake Tapper burns Bill O'Reilly for taking dig at ratings

Bill O'Reilly is getting a real taste of what it's like to keep up your punditry after you've been disgraced and cast off from a network no longer willing to look the other way. 

The former Fox News host, dumped from his show amid sexual harassment allegations and an exodus of advertisers, took to Twitter on Wednesday to congratulate former colleague Sean Hannity on his ratings.

The first part of that tweet is simply the truth. Given that Fox News is cable's most-watched network in total day ratings, it follows that Hannity's 9 p.m. show would reflect that preference among Americans parked in front of their TVs before bed. 


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But on a consistent basis, Tapper's 4 p.m. CNN show (not a primetime slot) scores respectably within reach of Neil Cavuto's show on Fox News — which, again, captures most of the TV news-watching public across the board. That could very well say more about demographic habits than the quality of the shows. Note that former Fox News star Megyn Kelly has struggled mightily since heading to "Today" on NBC. 

So here's Tapper's comeback. 

Some variation on this should work every time for anyone O'Reilly confronts. It's one of the few ad hominem attacks that's soundly justified. 

In reality, O'Reilly's weak jab was about sticking up for Hannity, who got into it with Tapper earlier this year. The CNN anchor's reporting exposed that the 2017 William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence, intended for Hannity, had been withdrawn because Buckley's son protested the selection. 

Tapper, by the way, has won nearly too many awards to count for his writing and reporting, including, most recently, a Distinguished Global Journalism award as part of his keynote appearance at Philadelphia's World Heritage City Celebration last month. 

From the days of Terry Gross until Jake Tapper, the life of Bill O'Reilly has suffered the consequences.