Michael Kinsley has blown the whistle on his former employer, CNN. As reported by Drudge, Kinsley says that the network is coaching guests to “get angry” when they go on the air to discuss Hurricane Katrina. Kinsley bases this accusation on the experience of a colleague at the Los Angeles Times who appeared on CNN.
The Washington Times notes that one CNNer, Anderson Cooper, has been getting particularly angry, to rave reviews from the New York Times. Thus, when Senator Landrieu, appearing with Cooper, thanked federal rescue workers, Cooper snapped at Landrieu for patting other politicians on the back after he had seen a dead body in the street. Elizabeth Jensen of the NYT has gushed that this interview “marked a turning point in the tone of hurricane coverage.”
Cooper and his employer embody the bias, ignorance, and opportunism that is sinking the MSM. Like the authors of a fancy advertising campaign (and Curly in the movie “City Slickers”), they want the hurricane coverage to be about one thing — in this case, anger at the Bush administration’s response. The fact that Cooper has seen dead bodies during the biggest natural disaster to hit this country in decades becomes the pretext for ruling out any attempt to analyze, or in Landrieu’s case even mention in a positive light, the massive federal relief effort. Outsiders brought in by CNN to discuss the matter are instructed to stay on message.
Without experiencing the death of a loved-one, Cooper has managed to become the Cindy Sheehan of Hurricane Katrina. Because he saw dead bodies, he asserts the “moral authority” to dish out blame without analysis and without rejoinder. He cannot (or does not wish to) distinguish between his anger and the story. Nor, given the attitude of his network, would it be in Cooper’s interest to make that distinction.
UPDATE: Austin Bay has some related thoughts.
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