Anderson Cooper's inflammatory response:
"Some of the fears of street crime and some of the stereotypes that go along with that were responses that I know many people feel. She's [my grandmother's] not extraordinary in that regard... Good people, people who are not in any way racist are still subject to some of these images and stereotypes."
"CALLING ALL WHITE PEOPLE RACISTS"?! How can Cooper imply this from Obama's explanation? Realistically he cannot. But what he can do, and did do, is use the hyperbole of others to divert the furor from himself. The fact is, real journalists don't report hyperbole. Real journalists report fact. Cooper isn't a journalist. He's an adventurer with a prime time slot -- and he got caught. Cooper could have easily taken the high road and accepted the cogent explanation by Obama. Instead Cooper dove head first into the gutter and exploited Obama in tabloid terms. As a result, "host" Anderson Cooper was instantly repudiated by seasoned political analyst and CNN Senior Correspondent, David Gergen, who was guesting on Cooper's show. Gergen responded with:
"Well, those [Obama's] comments touched off another uproar on the blogs and on some cable commentators who accused him [Obama] of calling all white people racists."
Thank you, David Gergen! What a breath of fresh air! What a remarkable moment when a corporate media pundit FINALLY tells the truth. David Gergen, the adult in the room, refused Cooper's race bait and set the record straight. With corporate media seemingly hell bent on derailing Obama, the importance of Gergen's candor cannot be overlooked. But it didn't stop there. It got even better!! After David Gergen's statement, Cooper turned to renowned journalist Carl Bernstein, a new contributor to CNN. Just like Gergen, Bernstein embraced the veracity of Obama's explanation and echoed Gergen and Obama's contention that stereotypes exist. Bernstein went on to tell Cooper that a higher standard for journalism was in order. Like Gergen, Bernstein deflected the race card and instead spoke the truth. As Bernstein stated:
"Anderson, I have to tell after listening to all this and what he [Obama] further said, I sort of think YOU OUGHT TO GET A GRIP ON REALITY HERE. I mean, he's [Obama's] RIGHT about the fact that certain people have stereotypes in their heads!"
"The race genie is out of the bottle and Obama has called for an elevated conversation about race -- and what we are seeing here is the bottom of the barrel conversation -- a talk show nation hysteria... As long as we keep pulling these threads out, we're not going to have any kind of meaningful debate in this campaign. And David's absolutely right. He [Obama] spoke a truth! ... "
Throughout Bernstein's criticism of the nit-picking surrounding Obama, Cooper appeared embarrassed. Looking perplexed (as always), Cooper turned to CNN commentator, Roland Martin, who was also on his panel. Cooper, clearly uncomfortable, remarked to Martin:
To which Roland Martin responded:
"It's interesting, you know Roland, that these are not the kinds of conversation that television or radio programs... in this heightened atmosphere does very well. It's a difficult conversation to have and it's a very nuanced conversation to have in a political environment which is all about sound bytes and people yelling on television."
Cooper was completely shut down. Thank you David Gergen and Carl Bernstein, with support from Roland Martin. You did as Barack Obama suggested and elevated the discussion. Rather than lowering the discourse to the race baiting Cooper wanted, you provided a rare opportunity for truth. Thanks to all three of you. Hopefully Anderson Cooper, the not ready for prime time host, will follow your lead. AC 360 has a segment called "Keeping Them Honest." Perhaps Mr. Cooper will apply that standard to himself!
"But we don't have to do what they do. We can call for something different... "
Follow Linda Milazzo on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LindaMilazzo