CNN anchor Jake Tapper made his debut in the Ruthless podcast’s long-running game show, “Dem or Journo.”
On Thursday’s “variety program,” co-hosts Comfortably Smug and Josh Holmes faced off in the game involving the two of them having to decipher which of the following four statements, read out loud by co-host Michael Duncan, was said by a Democratic operative versus members of the media. The theme was the ongoing events in Afghanistan.
The first statement read, “Kevin McCarthy warned on Fox that there are 5,000 prisoners who ‘just left Afghanistan’ and are hoping to cross US borders. There is no basis for this at all… and it was Trump’s Taliban deal, praised by McCarthy, that got 5,000 prisoners freed.”
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The second statement read, “NEW: 19,000 people were evacuated from Afghanistan in the 24 hours between 3 AM on 8/24 and 3 AM on 8/25. We’ve now evacuated 82,300 people since 8/14 and 87,900 since July.”
The third statement read, “If a politician is willing to lie about the election, he surely would feel no compunction about lying on other topics. A healthy democracy needs fact-allegiant leaders across the political spectrum.”
“My God!” Holmes reacted. “‘Fact-allegiant?!?”
“Has Joe Biden said one actual fact about his Afghanistan withdrawal? That’s been a fact?” Duncan asked.
“Fact-allegiant is such a great phrase,” Holmes chuckled.
Duncan went on to read the fourth statement, which read, “Biden national security officials last week set a goal of evacuating 5K-9K per day from Afghanistan this morning, WH says 21,600 were flown out of Kabul in last 24 hours – 12,700 on US military flights, 8,900 on allied coalition flights total evacuees in last 10 days: 58,700.”
Smug guessed that the third statement came from the Democratic operative without an explanation behind his pick. Holmes, meanwhile, offered his take behind his choice.
Holmes eliminated the first statement because he thought the expression “warned on Fox” would only be said by a reporter.
“Three, to me, ‘fact-allegiant’ is- it’s too, um- I just think that no real person would ever use that phrase, right?” Holmes laughed. “I feel that ‘fact-allegiant’ resides only in the cocktail party that journalists attend.”
“You know what, I’d buy that,” Smug reacted.
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Holmes then compared the second and fourth statements, pointing out how the second uses “we” while the fourth one uses “White House says,” which he interpreted as providing “a little distance” from the stats “in case that’s not true.”
“In case it’s not fact-allegiant,” Smug quipped.
Based on his observations, Holmes went with statement #2 as the Dem operative, which Duncan confirmed was correct. That statement was a tweet from White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates.
Meanwhile, as Duncan revealed, the “fact-allegiant” statement came from Tapper.
“Of course,” Smug reacted to the Tapper reveal. “This, like, the made-up reputation he has of being the fair, the balanced guy is such crap. The guy worked on Dem campaigns as a comms person.”
“I will say he’s been tearing this administration upon Afghanistan, but ‘fact-allegiant’ cannot be said by an operative,” Holmes chuckled.
“You know, I can see Jake Tapper saying that now, honestly. And hey! Dem operative in my book!” Smug exclaimed, alluding to his past work for Rep. Marjorie Margolies, D-Pa. “I claim, as someone who’s a comms person on Dem campaigns….”
“A moral victory,” Holmes joked.
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Smug did acknowledge Holmes’ “incredible” breakdown of the four statements, with Holmes replying, “You deal with these people long enough, you get a little window.”
The first and fourth statements came from Tapper’s colleagues, CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale and CNN White House correspondent John Harwood respectively, making “Dem or Journo” history as the first round ever to rely on one media outlet.