CNN’s Jake Tapper hopes to add depth to Sunday morning crowd


NEW YORK — CNN’s Jake Tapper, the third new host of a Sunday morning public affairs show to debut within the past year, says he hopes to attract viewers who want a little more depth to their political interviews.

Tapper starts Sunday on “State of the Union,” which airs at 9 a.m. and is repeated three hours later. He replaces Candy Crowley.

John Dickerson began on CBS’ “Face the Nation” last week and Chuck Todd took over NBC’s “Meet the Press” last fall.

The three main broadcast shows, including ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, dominate the space, with “State of the Union” getting between a third and a half of each show’s viewership over two airings. Fox’s show with Chris Wallace is in between, and also benefits from rebroadcasts on Fox News Channel.

It’s evident that his broadcast rivals feel the need to keep things moving, with multiple guests and briefer interviews, Tapper said. He wants longer interviews, which he hopes appeals to both potential guests and viewers.

Tapper said that he, Dickerson and Todd share the conviction that there’s much more to their jobs than an hour on Sunday. Each spreads political news on social media. Tapper, like Stephanopoulos, has a regular weekday on-air gig, as host of his own hour-long news program at 4 p.m.

Tapper doesn’t hesitate to be provocative on his various platforms. He criticized Democrats online for marking Memorial Day by tweeting a picture of President Obama eating an ice cream cone, and criticized the U.S. for its muted presence at a demonstration honoring victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack. His new job won’t change his approach.

“We in the media have the job of holding people who are in politics accountable for what they say and what they do,” he said. “As long as you’re standing up for principle and not a partisan ideology, I feel perfectly comfortable taking a position that is holding people accountable. One of the reason people have lost faith in the media is because there hasn’t been enough of that.”

His goal each week is to make news, or at least offer people something they’d find interesting to discuss over breakfast. Tapper intends to try new ideas, although not all at once, with one prominent segment taking advantage of his one-time ambition to be a cartoonist.

The headline guest for his opening show is former President Bill Clinton. That’s a big “get” for a Sunday show, although the timing and arrangements weren’t ideal.