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CNN host Jake Tapper anchored his afternoon show earlier this month shortly after testing positive for the coronavirus, a move that reportedly angered his staff.
The 53-year-old television anchor had tested positive for COVID-19 at CNN’s Washington, D.C., bureau on May 9, just before taping his 4 p.m. show “The Lead,” which, according to The Daily Beast’s media newsletter Confider, left staffers fuming.
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“This happened in the same week that the country was mourning the millionth death due to COVID, which Jake covered on his show,” one staffer told the outlet.
Fellow CNN host Dana Bash filled Tapper’s anchor chair starting the following day as he recovered from home. The day after that, Tapper was in front of the camera again, but from a home studio.
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Tapper, who has developed a reputation for lashing out online at journalists who criticize him or CNN, had the network’s public relations team put in extra hours to run interference on news outlets inquiring about the incident, Confider reported.
The network claims Tapper followed company protocol, even though he frustrated some staffers by continuing to work at the CNN bureau after testing positive for the virus.
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“Testing is voluntary to enter our offices,” a CNN spokesperson told Confider. “It is mandatory to enter the studios. He tested shortly before his show. When he was notified of the positive result, he asked CNN execs what to do and then followed it to the letter—he double-masked and isolated, did the show solo in a flash studio (single-person enclosed room) and went home immediately after.”
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“Everyone on The Lead team was notified during their pre-show call that day,” the spokesperson continued. “Jake had only been in direct contact with a few others, who were also notified.”