CNN’s Jake Tapper, Dana Bash Mocked as ‘Faces of the Collapse of American Media’ for Not Fact Checking Trump’s ‘Firehose’ of Debate Lies

President Joe Biden had a widely bemoaned showing during CNN’s debate with 2024 Republican nominee Donald Trump on Thursday. But moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash were also in for a thorough drubbing on social media as people suggested that their failure to fact check the former president marked “the collapse of American media.”

“I wonder if Jack Tapper and Dana Bash realize how much — through their silence and unwillingness to correct lie after lie spewed by a narcissistic felon on stage –they have just become the faces of the collapse of American media,” musician and writer Mikel Jollett wrote on X.

Not fact checking Trump’s “firehose of lies” was “unforgivable,” added political commentator Keith Olbermann, who said that the broadcast reflected “CNN’s utter failure as a news organization.”

“Democracy suffered a devastating blow tonight,” Qasim Rashid, a human rights lawyer and media specialist behind “Let’s Address This,” wrote.

Rashid added: “Jake Tapper and Dana Bash should never be allowed to moderate a presidential debate again.”

Writer Charlotte Clymer added, “Apparently, ‘debate moderator’ means a person who can read questions off a card and do absolutely no follow-up or fact checking or accountability or context for voters. This is truly one of CNN’s worst nights. Everyone involved in making decisions for it should feel embarrassed.”

One angry Democrat voter said it more succinctly: “Jake Tapper and Dana Bash are trash.”

Activist Raquel Willis called CNN’s hosting “sloppy and dangerous … There is absolutely no journalistic or moral integrity for these moderators who refuse to fact check.”

At least one CNN employee was doing a live fact check during the debate, senior reporter Daniel Dale, but apparently only on social media.

“[Dale] is doing a fabulous job of fact checking this debate. A pity that his stuff isn’t appearing on the debate broadcast screen,” lamented Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple on X.

In a statement to TheWrap, a CNN spokesperson said, “We are very proud of Jake and Dana. Our job was to make sure candidates were heard so voters can make informed decisions and we are pleased we were able to do that.”

And reactions to Tapper and Bash’s performance were not universally negative, with the likes of Brian Stelter dubbing them “the most impressive people at the debate so far” and Scott Jennings saying “they gave this country what it needed out of this historic event. Great job to them and everyone at CNN.”

Read a full roundup of the negative feedback below.

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