Howie Kurtz profiles Jake Tapper

The WaPo’s indispensable media guru Howie Kurtz profiles ABC News reporter Jake Tapper in his column today, and is chock full of background info and great quotes from people who have worked with him and who have gone toe to toe with him as well. It portrays him as straight down the line, about as neutral as you can get, which is what we all saw last year while he (primarily) covered the Obama campaign. He won’t even vote in presidential elections anymore in an effort to maintain his neutrality.

Here’s a snippet:

One year after joining ABC News, Jake Tapper kept pushing his bosses — “annoyingly, irritatingly, incessantly,” he says — to let him cover the unfolding 2004 presidential campaign.

“I might not have been ready,” he admits now. “I hadn’t paid my dues.”

Patience is not Tapper’s strong suit. “He’s one of the hungriest reporters I’ve run across,” anchor Charlie Gibson says. “He bombards us with e-mail, and it’s all about stuff he’s reporting. . . . He can be a little brash at times.”

That brashness has now catapulted the 39-year-old correspondent to the coveted White House beat, the biggest stage yet for a man who bounced around politics, public relations and the Web before setting his sights on television. Tapper, who has already clashed publicly with press secretary Robert Gibbs, has been outspoken in his view that many in the media have been too soft on Barack Obama.

“Certain networks, newspapers and magazines leaned on the scales a little bit,” he says over a vanilla latte at Starbucks. Obama’s attractive qualities, he says, have prompted some editors and producers “to root for him.”

The only thing I disagree with Tapper on in that piece is his belief that the MSM “coddled” George W. Bush in 2000. I must have missed that!

Make sure you read the whole thing, as he is one of the few mainstream media reporters who has consistently done their jobs over the years in keeping both sides honest, and last year, when most reporters were declaring their love to candidate Obama, Tapper did the brave thing and opted out of joining that club. And he’s remained that way even beyond the election. Even when he worked for he wasn’t as “liberal” as the editors wanted him to be.

All in all, a good piece on a guy who deserves the accolades. Job well done, Jake Tapper.