Jake Tapper LIES About Aaron Rodgers Defending Sandy Hook Conspiracy

News & Politics

CNN’s Jake Tapper and Pamela Brown launched a smear campaign against New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers this week after it was revealed he was on Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s shortlist for VP; accusing him of believing the conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook school shooting was fake. And when Rodgers denied their allegations, Tapper took to his show, The Lead on Thursday to falsely claim Rodgers was not only refusing to deny the allegations but was actively defending the conspiracy theory.

Following the publishing of CNN’s hit piece, Rodgers released a statement saying:

As I’m on the record saying in the past, what happened in Sandy Hook was an absolute tragedy. I am not and have never been of the opinion that the events did not take place. Again, I hope that we learn from this and other tragedies to identify the signs that will allow us to prevent unnecessary loss of life. My thoughts and prayers continue to remain with the families affected along with the entire Sandy Hook community.

Despite Rodgers clearly saying he had “never been of the opinion that the events did not take place,” Tapper was intent on gaslighting his viewers and insisted that Rodgers was not denying the allegations he smeared him with; he even suggested Rodgers was not addressing their story at all.

“Plus, speaking of dangerous conspiracy theories, New York Jet Aaron Rodgers is responding –kind of – to reporting that we broke here yesterday…” Tapper deceptively announced in a tease. “How could he possibly defend such a thing? We’ll tell you next.”

Tapper repeatedly tried to cast doubt on Rodgers’ clear denials of their reporting throughout multiple teases over the course of his show’s two hours. “Plus, Aaron Rodgers responds kind of, kind of response to our reporting that in the past he has shared fake Sandy Hook conspiracy theories, including with our own Pamela Brown. What he had to say, that’s coming up,” he said.

When it finally was time to cover Rodgers’ response, Tapper admitted that politics was his motivation for targeting Rodgers now despite the alleged conservation with Brown happening 11 years ago. “Now these comments, of course, are troubling, but they’re especially important because he’s on Robert Kennedy Jr.’s shortlist for vice president. Normally, who cares what a quarterback says in private conversation?” he proclaimed.

There was also a very small possibility that Tapper was also still salty over the Jets stomping his Philadelphia Eagles last year.

In teeing up and analyzing Rodger’s response, Tapper blatantly lied that Rodgers was not denying the allegations:

Now today, Aaron Rodgers is responding to our story kind of. He does not deny saying what we reported. He said, but he or a representative for him tweeted the following statement, quote, “As, I’m on the record saying in the past, what happened in Sandy Hook was an absolute tragedy. I am not and have never been of the opinion that the events did not take place. Again, I hope that we learned from this and other tragedies to identify the signs that would allow us to prevent unnecessary loss of life. My thoughts and prayers continue to remain with the families affected along with the entire Sandy Hook community,” unquote.

Again, if you read that statement, you Rodgers does not deny those comments that he made the Pamela Brown and to the other source.

“This is where we are as a nation where we have actually as a subject for debate whether or not a vice presidential prospect thinks a massive shooting actually happened,” Tapper bitterly vented.

But that’s not true.

In the hours following Tapper’s false reporting, Rodgers supporters and Tapper fact-checkers flooded the zone with evidence that blew up CNN’s Hail Mary attempt to damage the RFK Jr. campaign. For instance, there’s a picture of Rodgers with a Sandy Hook memorial sticker on his helmet just days after the school shooting while at an away game versus the Minnesota Vikings.

Brown claimed Rodgers made the comments to her while at the 2013 Kentucky Derby. The derby was held on May 4 that year, but a Fox6 News Milwaukee report posted to YouTube two months later on July 11 showed Rodgers’ using similar language echoed in his denial:

I hope that we can learn from this and look for the signs more and not ever have something like this happen, and keep this on our minds because these are things that affect all of us directly or indirectly. This needs to be something that we learn from.”

It’s worth noting that Tapper and Brown didn’t have stellar histories when it came to discerning claims made by sources. Back in October, Tapper defended the death toll numbers being provided by the Hamas Ministry of Health by insisting “there’s no reason to doubt” their claim that hundreds were killed by Israel intentionally bombing a hospital. Both the death toll number and the alleged source of the explosive turned out to be disinformation and Hamas was the perpetrator.

Brown was one of three reporters who penned an explosive article in 2017 that claimed they had anonymous sources that claimed the FBI had a FISA warrant to wiretap then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. That too turned out to be false.

The transcript is below. Click “expand to read:

CNN’s The Lead
March 14, 2024
4:01:10 p.m. Eastern [Tease]

(…)

JAKE TAPPER: And, Rogers’s response. NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers with a new post Twitter today, kind of alluding to the exclusive reporting we broke here on The Lead yesterday, that he had privately shared with the least two people we know of deranged conspiracy theories about the 2012 sandy hook school shooting not being real

(…)

5:00:01 p.m. Eastern [Tease]

TAPPER: Plus, speaking of dangerous conspiracy theories, New York Jet Aaron Rodgers is responding –kind of – to reporting that we broke here yesterday on The Lead with the NFL quarterback in the past has claimed in private conversation stations that the Sandy Hook massacre, in which 20 kids and six adults were viciously murdered was actually a government inside job, and the kids and the parents were all just actors. He said it to our own Pamela Brown, among others.

How could he possibly defend such a thing? We’ll tell you next.

(…)

5:09:49 p.m. Eastern [Tease]

TAPPER: Plus, Aaron Rodgers responds kind of, kind of response to our reporting that in the past he has shared fake Sandy Hook conspiracy theories, including with our own Pamela Brown. What he had to say, that’s coming up.

(…)

5:31:32 p.m. Eastern

TAPPER: In our politics lead, an update to the exclusive reporting we brought to you yesterday about one of RFK juniors, vice presidential prospects, Aaron Rodgers. You might remember we reported on the unhinged conspiracy theories that New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers has shared in private that the 2012 very real Sandy Hook school shooting was not real, that it was a fake, despite the fact that 20 children and six adults were murdered that day.

Now these comments, of course, are troubling, but they’re especially important because he’s on Robert Kennedy Jr.’s shortlist for vice president. Normally, who cares what a quarterback says in private conversation?

Yesterday, on his ESPN show, Pat MacAfee said that Rodgers was apparently at a retreat in Costa Rica taking the psychedelic drug Ayahuasca when the news broke about the – about the his being on the shortlist for vice president for RFK junior.

Yesterday, here on The Lead, we reported that Aaron Rodgers had shared these frankly disturbing views about the Sandy Hook shooting not being real. He shared them 11 years ago with CNN’s Pamela Brown. She was covering the Kentucky Derby for CNN in 2013 and met him there. CNN, I have also spoken to another person, one who would like to remain anonymous in order to avoid harassment, who also had a similar encounter with Aaron Rodgers; saying that Rodgers claimed that quote, “Sandy Hook never happened. All those children never existed. They’re all actors,” unquote. When asked about the grieving parents, whom I met and their grief is real. The source says that Rodgers said, quote, “They’re all making it up. They’re all actors,” unquote.

Now today, Aaron Rodgers is responding to our story kind of. He does not deny saying what we reported. He said, but he or a representative for him tweeted the following statement, quote, “As, I’m on the record saying in the past, what happened in Sandy Hook was an absolute tragedy. I am not and have never been of the opinion that the events did not take place. Again, I hope that we learned from this and other tragedies to identify the signs that would allow us to prevent unnecessary loss of life. My thoughts and prayers continue to remain with the families affected along with the entire Sandy Hook community,” unquote.

Again, if you read that statement, you Rodgers does not deny those comments that he made the Pamela Brown and to the other source.

Last night on Fox, RFK junior was asked about Aaron Rodgers.

[Cuts to video]

ROBERT F. KENNEDY Jr. (D): I really like Aaron because our appeal to young people. [Transition] Aaron Rodgers is battle-tested. He’s stood up, he’s been hammered by the press. Stood up for things to be believed, and I like that part of his character. He’s a critical thinker.

[Cuts back to live]

TAPPER: “Critical thinkers” is now, obviously what we’re calling conspiracy theorists. Kennedy was not, in an interview, perhaps not surprisingly, they asked about the comments that we reported Aaron Rodgers made to Pamela Brown and someone else about Sandy Hook not having actually happened.

Today, a spokesperson for RFK Jr.’s campaign did address those comments responding to CNN in a statement saying, quote, “Mr. Kennedy believes the Sandy Hook shooting was a horrific tragedy. The 20 children and six adults that died December 14, 2012 brought the entire country together and grief. Let us honor their memory.”

This is where we are as a nation where we have actually as a subject for debate whether or not a vice presidential prospect thinks a massive shooting actually happened.

Should RFK Jr. select Aaron Rodgers as his running mate again, somebody describes as a battle-tested critical thinker, it might cost him. Mediaite reporting that donors have voiced their discontent directly with the campaign pledging to withdraw their support from Kennedy if he chooses, Rodgers, in particular, RFK R. is expected to announce his pick on March 26th.

(…)

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