Media critic
CNN’s Jake Tapper (Associated Press)

A timeline:

1) July 12: The Post reports that in the aftermath of the blowup over Donald Trump Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer, “A handful of Republican operatives close to the White House are scrambling to Trump Jr.’s defense and have begun what could be an extensive campaign to try to discredit some of the journalists who have been reporting on the matter.”

2) July 23: CNN anchor Jake Tapper, on his Sunday show “State of the Union,” interviewed new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci about the issues of the day. In addressing Trump’s importance, Scaramucci spoke of the “economic desperation in the neighborhoods like the one I grew up in.” Tapper commented, “I grew up in a very similar neighborhood in Philadelphia.” Whereupon Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle wrote up a story accusing Tapper of misleading viewers, under this headline: “Ivy League Puffery–Very Fake News: CNN’s Jake Tapper Caught Misstating His Background on Live Television.” Via a multipart tweetstorm, Tapper explained how he could quite plausibly make that representation: Yes, his father is a doctor and the family didn’t lack resources. Yet his parents divorced when he was eight years old, leaving him to split time between his mom’s house — amid middle-class areas — and his father’s place in the suburbs.

3) July 24: The New York Post reveals that CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, one of the Trump White House’s foremost inquisitors, separated from his wife, is allegedly “loving the single life” and has been spotted with “different women.” According to someone.

The Erik Wemple Blog cannot establish causality between item No. 1 and items No. 2 and No. 3.

Yet we will issue one word of caution: If these attacks do stem from some recent, coordinated anti-media campaign, its architects may want to reconsider their efforts. Because if this is the caliber of dirt they’re scooping up, they may end up legitimizing the media in ways they never intended

(Eric Thayer/Getty Images)