CNN's Jake Tapper issued a correction for a segment that misleadingly took comments by Vice President Joe Biden out of context. Tapper's decision to correct the record is commendable, but has yet to be imitated by Newt Gingrich, who first brought the bogus story to the network.
On December 3, Biden visited the Toyko headquarters of the Japanese company DeNA. According to the Wall Street Journal, that firm "is known for encouraging its female employees to continue working through motherhood," and Biden was there to "meet with its female employees to chat about achieving a work-life balance in a country where 60% of women don't return to work after giving birth." As part of that dialogue, Biden asked a group of five young female employees, "Do your husbands like you working full time?" Illustrating the vulnerability of journalists working in the current media environment, numerous media outlets ripped Biden's comments from their context and presented them as a sexist gaffe.
That dishonest framing reached CNN the same day, when Crossfire's Gingrich tried to use them to diffuse criticism of the GOP's toxic rhetoric on women. He commented: "Democrats like to complain about a Republican war on women. That was before Vice President Joe Biden started his current tour of Japan. Today, while touring a Japanese game company, he walked up to a group of women and asked them, 'Do your husbands like you working full-time?'" Gingrich used Biden's comments to ask, "How do you explain Biden's inability to stay in touch with reality?"
The next day on his CNN program, Tapper played the same clip to illustrate the media's propensity to highlight the Vice President's gaffes and asked if Republicans are right to say there is a double standard about sexist comments.
Tapper issued a full correction on the December 6 edition of his show, apologizing for doing the vice president and the viewer "the exact same ill service" of focusing on Biden's gaffes without "providing the proper context":
TAPPER: A correction from us now. On Wednesday during a discussion on our roundtable about Vice President Biden I tried to make the point that despite his substantive work, the media perhaps too often focuses on his gaffes. In doing so, I did him and you the exact same ill service by not providing the proper context for a quick sound bite we aired. The vice president had been attending an event in Japan aimed at highlighting efforts to reduce the percentage of Japanese women, currently at 60 percent, who quit their jobs after the birth of their first child. An important context for you to have known before we showed you the vice president asking some female workers there how their husbands like them working full-time. Again, we were trying to make the point that the VP perhaps deserved a more fair shake but then I inadvertently, ironically, perhaps even hypocritically, did the same thing. I regret the error and apologize to the vice president and to you, the viewer.
Tapper's apology suggests that Gingrich should also prioritize honesty and transparency by issuing a correction. However, given Gingrich's legacy as a political commentator -- which most recently has included violating CNN's ethical guidelines and engaging in partisan smear campaigns -- it seems unlikely that such an apology is forthcoming.