Jacob Paul Tapper (born March 12, 1969) is an American journalist, author, and cartoonist. He is the lead Washington anchor for CNN, and hosts the weekday television news show The Lead with Jake Tapper and hosts the Sunday morning public affairs program State of the Union.
Before joining CNN, Tapper worked for ABC News as Senior White House Correspondent, where he received three Merriman Smith Memorial Awards from the White House Correspondents’ Association. Tapper helped with the coverage of the inauguration of President Obama that earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story. Tapper was part of a team that was awarded an Edward R. Murrow Award for Video: Breaking News for “Target bin Laden: The Death of Public Enemy #1”. His book The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor debuted at number 10 in November 2012 on The New York Times Best Seller list for hardback non-fiction. Tapper’s book and his reporting on the veterans and troops were cited when the Congressional Medal of Honor Society awarded him the “Tex” McCrary Award for Excellence in Journalism. The Republican primary debate Tapper moderated in September 2015 drew more than 23 million viewers, making it the most-watched program in the history of CNN and the second-most watched primary debate ever. He also moderated the Republican presidential debate in Miami on March 10, 2016, which drew almost 12 million viewers and, according to Variety, “garnered acclaim for its substance”.
Tapper was born in New York City and was raised in Queen Village, Philadelphia. He is the son of Theodore S. “Ted” and Helen Anne (née Palmatier) Tapper. His mother, who is originally from Canada, retired as a psychiatric nurse at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center. His father, from Chicago, graduated from Dartmouth College and Harvard Medical School, and went on to serve as the president of South Philadelphia Pediatrics and associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Jefferson Medical College. His parents are Jewish; his mother, who was raised Presbyterian, converted to Judaism. When Tapper was a kid he spent summers attending the Jewish summer camp Camp Ramah in the Poconos.
Tapper attended the Philadelphia School, a progressive, independent elementary school known for its weekly out of classroom excursions to farms, etc. In eighth grade he did a comic strip for a local free weekly paper. He later enrolled at Akiba Hebrew Academy, an independent Jewish day school formerly located in Merion, Pennsylvania, and attended Dartmouth College, from which he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude with a B.A. in History, modified by Visual Studies, in 1991. At Dartmouth, Tapper was a member of Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity. He briefly attended the USC School of Cinematic Arts.