Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s Note: Parts of the following story make explicit references to graphic sex and will be objectionable to readers. It is not suitable for children.
Anderson Cooper on the cover of the Advocate, a homosexual magazine
If one racist remark or one fudging of journalistic integrity can cost a reporter his job, some activists are wondering, what about an openly lecherous comment that mocks protesting Americans with a crude term for a sex act?
As WND reported, CNN’s Anderson Cooper insulted the grass-roots Tea Parties that blanketed the United States this week by making a lewd joke about the protesters.
His exact words, in response to a guest who said Republicans are still searching for a voice to address the nation’s economy, were, “It’s hard to talk when you’re tea-bagging.”
The comment parallels the “tea-bagging” term commonly used in the homosexual community to describe a sex act in which testicles are inserted in someone’s mouth.
Now, some groups are wondering, what will CNN or Cooper do about the insult?
WND contacted CNN, Anderson Cooper and his guest analyst, David Gergen, to ask for comment on the controversy but received no response. Others critical of the comment, however, were quick to condemn it.
Peter LaBarbera, chief of Americans for Truth, who alerted WND even as the comments were being made, points out in a statement that though Cooper hasn’t publicly declared his sexuality, he has been an active homosexual advocate, as evidenced by the CNN host’s No. 3 ranking in Out Magazine’s “50 Most Influencial Gay Men and Women in America.”
“He may remain silent on whether he is a homosexual,” said LaBarbara, “but his ugly bias and bitterness toward conservatives is out of the closet. If he has any class, he’ll apologize to CNN’s world audience – and especially all those good people who attended the ‘Tea Party’ rallies – for his perverted on-air remark denigrating their cause.”
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell released a statement asserting the coverage of the Tea Parties was biased and the language egregious. He also called on CNN – and fellow news station MSNBC, whose hosts made “tea-bagging” jokes even more explicit – to apologize.
“Now the news isn’t just biased, it’s R-rated,” said Bozell. “MSNBC and CNN both allow this vulgar attack-journalism to go out on their airwaves without blinking an eye and without any sign of guilt. It appears neither woeful bias nor lowly crassness on their airwaves bothers them a bit.”
He continued, “MSNBC and CNN owe these decent Americans an apology for the slimy, smarmy attacks they perpetrated in ‘covering’ the TEA Parties. Ordinary citizens exercising their First Amendment rights in over 750 cities and towns deserve the media’s coverage, not their sleaze-riddled condemnation.”
Mark Dice, founder of the The Resistance, a self-described Christian media watchdog group, has gone a step farther, urging people to demand that Cooper be fired.
“Introducing such a term to the children in the audience and clearly conveying that it has sexual connotations is inappropriate,” said Dice in a statement. “It’s unfortunate that Anderson Cooper’s personal perversions spilled out on the airwaves.”
Eric Odom, administrator of TaxDayTeaParty.com, however, told WND he isn’t necessarily offended by Cooper’s comment, because he isn’t surprised by it.
“It couldn’t become more apparent that CNN is taking their content off left-wing blogs and pushing it out through what they consider ethical and coherent journalism,” Odom said. “And I think it further proves the downfall of the mainstream media.”
Odom pointed out that some news coverage of the Tea Parties labeled the protesters as right-wing extremists or Republican operatives, a notion completely out-of-touch with what Odom called “a silent majority” of people upset over ballooning federal spending and control over Americans’ lives.
“What’s been happening in the last few days has been an example of the [media's] clear and present and complete disconnect with American society,” Odom said. “I don’t even know if CNN knows they’re doing this. I think they believe what they’re saying is sincerely accurate, and that’s more dangerous and reckless than Cooper’s one comment.”
As for an apology, Odom told WND he would rather see CNN make a more significant change to its news coverage.
“I don’t know that we’d like to see an apology more than we’d like to see some sort of grasp of reality,” Odom said, “because this is a completely unrealistic realm that they’re thriving in, and it’s hard to believe they’re considered mainstream journalism.”
For example, in Sacramento, Calif., a sea of red, white and blue U.S. flags waved above a large crowd that surrounded the Capitol and spilled into city streets. Visitors arrived in yellow school buses from surrounding cities.
Guests at the Sacramento rally included Michael Reagan, Rep. Tom McClintock, singer Lloyd Marcus and Fox News’ Neil Cavuto.
“In the 27 years since I came to this building, I have never seen a protest this large,” McClintock said. “The silent majority is no longer silent.”
“It’s unreal. It’s beyond my imagination,” Sacramento event planner Mark Meckler told WND. “I can’t imagine anything better than this.”
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