Anderson Cooper explains “journalism” to a confused congressman

An absolutely delicious interview from Anderson Cooper of far-right Republican House Member Raul Labrador of Idaho about the Republican shutdown of the federal government. As you know, the GOP shut down the government because they couldn’t get the President to agree to defund Obamacare.

Labrador, a conservative Mormon from Utah, doesn’t come across the brightest guy, but he’s quite fluent in GOP talking talks.  Sadly for Labrador, Anderson Cooper is fluent in the actual facts, which seems to unnerve Labrador to the point that Cooper is forced to explain what actual journalists do on real news networks: they ask hard questions.

Anderson Cooper: So basically your argument is that you’re nullifying two presidential elections and you’re nullifying the vote of Congress because you don’t like it.

GOP Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho: So your argument is that the election of the House of Representatives doesn’t matter.

Anderson Cooper: No, my argument is that the vote of the House of Representatives and the vote of the Senate does matter, and this is a law, and the Supreme Court has backed up this law.


Yes, the “election” Labrador is talking about is the 2012 election where the House did not get handed back to Democrats.  Though, what Labrador isn’t telling you is that actually in the 2012 election the Republicans lost six seats in the House.

Labrador, sensing that he wasn’t winning the discussion, turned to the tried-and-true GOP trick of accusing Cooper of being biased, because he kept correcting Labrador with actual facts.

Anderson Cooper: I don’t have a stake in this.

GOP Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho: You seem to.

Anderson Cooper: No, this is the way it works in journalism. When you’re not on Fox News you get contentious interviews, when you’re not on MSNBC and a liberal you get contentious interviews. My job is to ask you questions that are different than you think… that’s what a journalist does.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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39 Responses to “Anderson Cooper explains “journalism” to a confused congressman”

  1. Bob Martin says:

    And since Anderson’s FACTS didn’t negate anything that Congressman Cummings said, why those facts are liberally biased. Are you listening to yourself?

  2. 1strepublic14thstar says:

    False equivalence. MSNBC might engage in opinion journalism, but Fox “News” is all falsehoods, fantasy and cognitive dissonance.

    There’s no comparison, except by journalists from other networks who want to try to pretend that they’re the middle between two extremes.

  3. Greg Ardente says:

    Anderson Cooper for President…

  4. ryan karl says:

    I wasnt calling any one question tough, I was calling the entire interview weak and lacking in any attempt to force answers from Cummings. As i said in response to Juniper, Cummings answered every question Cooper asked him with the very old and annoying Dem talking points that the world is ending, your children are dying, and all while a gun is being held to the average citizen’s head. Coopers body language, initial questioning, and lack of rebuttal is what i was calling hypocritical after giving a rebuttal for every single one of Labrador’s answers.

  5. ryan karl says:

    I watched it live too, Juniper and was amazed that Anderson Cooper didn’t back up his tough talk to Labrador when interviewing Cummings. Cooper used every Democratic talking point as his own when questioning Labrador but said when interviewing Cummings, “i just had a House GOP Member on saying the president wont negotiate.” That is literally all he said and made it seem as if he didn’t agree with Labrador when asking the question. Cummings went on to cry about babies dying from cancer, poor people not eating, and the world falling into Chaos while Cooper just nodded his head in agreement. Labrador couldn’t get a whole sentence off without Cooper interrupting him with another Dem Talking point. I don’t know what interview you watched but if you call that impartial, your head is buried DEEP in the sand.

  6. Duke Woolworth says:

    Few cable networks dare carry aljazeera, unfortunately. I miss O’Brien, too.

  7. Joe says:

    The media has a bias to sensationalize stories to keep people watching. It doesn’t matter who’s telling you the news its going to be a short sighted piece leaning to whatever party the anchor or writter leans. I’d like to see a clean story about politics.

  8. Joe says:

    This shut down is on every elected official. Nobody wants to talk till they get their own way like a bunch of spoiled babies. Hold them all accountable or none.

  9. Naja pallida says:

    This is what they mean when they say we live in a Republic, not a Democracy.

  10. Weston says:

    Check her out as a correspondent for Al Jazeera America.

  11. Weston says:

    What he also isn’t telling you Democrats won the House in total number of votes. Democrats won 1.8 Million more votes in the House. The only reason republicans kept control was Gerrymandering.

  12. peteywheats says:

    Sadly, this Labrador chump was on NPR this morning and they let him get away with saying this shutdown is on Obama.

  13. JuniperPlease says:

    I watched the whole thing live. Anderson kept pressing Elijah Cummings to answer why the Democrats wouldn’t compromise to end the shutdown. He kept framing his questions with “won’t compromise to end the shutdown”, “wouldn’t compromise to end the shutdown”. Putting partial responsibility on the Democrats shoulders during the interview. So, your own bias is showing here, ryan karl.

  14. smkngman3 says:

    I miss Soledad O’Brien.

  15. Naja pallida says:

    The Tealiban have been demanding a shut down since Obama took office. They even had meetings basically on the day of his inauguration to all get on the same page about it. Their whole platform has always been one of not wanting to govern, but instead tear down the institutions of American government – especially if it’s run by that foreign black guy.

  16. Naja pallida says:

    Calling a question ‘tough’ is pretty subjective. It’s really only tough if you know the interviewee is not going to want to respond to the question with a factual answer. What is Cooper supposed to do, dig around just to find some question that he knows Cummings is going to lie about, to show how “impartial” he is? That’s not journalism either. It’s not a matter of agreement, it’s a matter of interviewing someone who isn’t trying to distort reality to their own agenda. That’s only bias if you first accept that a lie is an acceptable rebuttal to reality.

  17. ryan karl says:

    Watch the whole interview because the funny thing about this is that Anderson Cooper told Labrador that his questions are part of journalism and he was going to ask House Democrat Elijah Cummings tough questions as well about his stance on the shutdown. The interview with Labrador ends, Cummings comes on, and Cooper asks literally no tough questions and agrees with everything he says. Media bias at its best. 95% of every debt ceiling increase in the past 40 years have been tired to budget negotiations.

  18. Riccardo Cabeza says:

    A discharge petition does not equal a vote on a clear CR. Labradoodle knows this, he is just full of feces. And that is all well and good. Conservatives will never win a national election again and if they keep it up, there just might be a democratic house in 2014.

  19. Bill_Perdue says:

    Shutdowns are just one form of cruelty by rightwingers like Pelosi and Boehner, Reid and McConnell, Obama and Romney.

    Government abandoned us under Pelosi and refused to repeal DOMA or pass ENDA.

    Government betrayed the health care needs of working people under Pelosi and twice voted to extend the Bush2 tax cuts.

    Pelosi refused to prosecute Bush2 for war crimes and crimes against humanity because Obama is committing the same crimes.

    Pelosi, Obama and the Republicans are competing to have the worst plan to injure working people and the elderly with draconian cuts in entitlements. Obama and the Democrats are winning. “Reality Check: Obama Cuts Social Security and Medicare by Much More Than the GOP Obama plans to cut between $200 billion and $380 billion more from Social Security and Medicare than Republicans in the next ten years”

    Democrats are the enemy. So are Republicans. And, can someone please explain why these people are laughing?

  20. Bill_Perdue says:

    Obamacare won’t destroy the nation, but it is a carefully crafted fraud based on the contemptible corruption and bribery of Democrats, especially Obama, by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

    Democrat politicians are the chief enemy of working people and especially the elderly because they run the WH. Republicans are the lesser enemy and will remain so until they retake the WH.

  21. Bill_Perdue says:

    MSNBC is part of NBC, a homophobic corporation who knew all along about Putin’s plans and didn’t lift a finger because it would have endangered their profits. “Human Rights Watch (HRW)
    notes that before Sochi was chosen for the 2014 games, the International
    Olympic Committee (IOC) and other stakeholders, including
    American multinational sponsors of the Winter Olympics, as well as NBC
    Universal, which has the broadcast contract, carefully tracked the path of
    the legislation… .”>/i>

  22. JP_Melle says:

    This is where cnn still misses the point. I don’t want a journalist to ask questions from a contrarian point of view so much as I want them to help me understand the truth.

  23. The_Fixer says:

    Well, this guy is proof of what the NYT uncovered ( about this whole government shutdown thing – it’s been planned and in the works for quite some time. The entire effort has been funded by the Kochs and their cronies, carried out by the Heritage foundation and other sympathetic groups.

    Funny thing is, the ACA is basically the Heritage’s plan cooked up for Mittens Romney. So what’s really up their sleeve? Going after SS and “entitlements” (a term cooked up by Republicans designed to put a bad taste in the mouths of the public). At least that seems logical to me.

    Their talking points are nothing but circular “logic” designed by demagogues. This guy is just following orders, and looking like a fool in the process.

  24. Drew2u says:

    It’s called ‘projection’. ;)

  25. Drew2u says:

    I have yet to see any of the same “contentious interviews” Mr. Cooper says are on MSNBC. Mostly I see roundtable-echochamers (nowadays) or soft-ball interviews that may press certain issues (Chris Matthews), but nothing “contentious”. The only thing close to contentious is Rachel Maddow not letting any talking points or lies on her show without factual rebuttal – you know, those things that CNN runs screaming away from while yelling, “both sides do it!”
    Edit: And Ed’s show stopped being contentious when that one loud-mouth conservative woman stopped being a regular (thank god, I couldn’t take hearing talking points from her palin-esque babbling that I changed the channel until it was over)

  26. No one asked Pelosi… It’s the new “Don’t forget Poland!”

    Was government shut down under Pelosi? ‘Cause I missed that minor distinction.

  27. keirmeister says:

    Jesus, what an incomprehensibly stupid exchange. Other than age, I can’t see much difference between Labrador and a middle school dough-head.

  28. ezpz says:

    Neolibs, faux libs, DINOs…take your pick.

    New puppy? Very ‘dorable.

  29. Buford says:

    I think Olbermann walked the line nicely – he didn’t invite counter-opinion, but what he said was fact-based and verifiable. Ed Schultz is probably the most biased and opinionated voice on MSNBC, but he’s just one show… not the entire network.

  30. pappyvet says:

    What should be alarming is the Mcarthyesque attitude of this man. He is typical of the monster that the rightwing has created. Hate filled and eliminationist in temperament.. They do not care if our government crashes. They hope for it. In chaos there is the chance that they can finally achieve what they really want. Power and order.

  31. crazymonkeylady says:

    Anderson Cooper…He’s sooooo dreamy……

  32. Indigo says:

    The obstructionists were deliberately elected by obstructionists. Intelligent, witty, rational argumentation means nothing to them. There’s probably a way around that obstacle but step #1 is to recognize that these hillbillies really are obstructionist on purpose.

  33. Monoceros Forth says:

    Anderson Cooper: No, my argument is that the vote of
    the House of Representatives and the vote of the Senate does matter, and
    this is a law, and the Supreme Court has backed up this law.

    This is what ought to be announced and advertised on every street corner. Every time Ted Cruz or Paul Broun or some other gasbag starts wittering on about how “Obamacare” is going to destroy the nation I want to holler these words in his ear.

    EDIT: As a perfect illustration of the utter contempt in which the House Republicans hold our legislative process, Digby dug up an amusing analogy:

  34. Thom Allen says:

    Raul Labrador, giving intelligent dogs everywhere a bad name. He almost makes Palin look like she DOES have a measurable IQ.

  35. pappyvet says:

    telling the truth is just a liberal dodge to these people

  36. jharp says:

    Holy fuck.

    I thought my teabag Congressman was stupid.

    Good grief.

  37. Buford says:

    So whatever kudos AC might have earned for his well-placed Fox News jab, he immediately forfeited with that ridiculous, false-equivalency nonsense suggesting that MSNBC is Fox News for the Left.

    Good grief.

  38. Naja pallida says:

    That’s the prevailing false equivalence… created largely by Fox Noise, who felt it necessary to invent an opponent to justify their existence. The only time it came close to being true was when Olbermann was actively debunking O’Reilly almost in real-time.

  39. karmanot says:

    MSNBC is “liberal”? Could have fooled me.

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