Jake Tapper came under fire this weekend from the right-wing website Breitbart, which claimed the CNN host misstated his background growing up in Philadelphia in an attempt to appear more blue-collar.
It all started after a feisty exchange with new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. Tapper said Scaramucci appeared to be speaking to one specific viewer: President Trump.
"I like talking to him. But you know who else I'm talking to? The people I grew up with," Scaramucci responded. "They get me and they get him."
Scaramucci often speaks proudly of his middle-class upbringing in Long Island — something Tapper, who grew up in Queen Village in Philadelphia in the late 1970s and early 1980s, said he could relate to.
"I grew up in a very similar neighborhood in Philadelphia," Tapper said.
Here's Tapper's full interview with Scaramucci:
Tapper was born in New York City, but moved to the then-blue-collar Philly neighborhood when he was young. He was raised in the Queen Village house, where his mother continues to live, before his parents divorced when he was 8 years old. Tapper then split his time between his mother's house in the city and Merion, where his his father, a pediatric doctor who continues to provide care for patients in South Philadelphia, lived. As an eighth-grader, he drew a weekly comic strip for the now-defunct South Street Star.
Breitbart published an article Sunday claiming that Tapper misled viewers about his upbringing. Tapper refuted those assertions in a series of tweets Sunday afternoon:
Breitbart labeled Tapper an "Ivy League elite." The CNN host attended an independent Jewish day school in Bryn Mawr, now known as the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, and graduated from Dartmouth College. Scaramucci is also an Ivy League graduate, having earned his law degree from Harvard Law School.
Breitbart has published many stories echoing President Trump's attacks on the media generally and CNN in particular, often referring to the network as "very fake news." Most recently, the outlet claimed CNN was blackmailing a Reddit user who created a meme involving Trump wrestling a figure representing the network that the president subsequently shared on his Twitter feed.
CNN denied making any such deal, noting in a statement that the Reddit user, an adult male, "apologized and deleted his account before ever speaking" with reporter Andrew Kaczynski, leading to the decision not to publish his name. Kaczynski added that "CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change."
"CNN never made any deal, of any kind, with the user," CNN said in the statement. "In fact, CNN included its decision to withhold the user's identity in an effort to be completely transparent that there was no deal."
Last month, three CNN journalists resigned and the network issued an apology to Scaramucci after mentioning him in a retracted story that the Senate Intelligence Committee was investigating a "$10 billion Russian investment fund whose chief executive met with a member of President Donald Trump's transition team four days before Trump's inauguration."
Scaramucci called the network's decision to pull the story and issue an apology a "classy move."