Several people flagged this interview yesterday, and I feel compelled to respond to it. Let me first stipulate that I generally believe Anderson Cooper does a nice job at CNN. He's a smart, versatile, talented journalist. But in this exchange, he assumes the role of a left-wing activist, browbeating Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (about whom serious and unrelated ethical questions have recently been raised) over her laudable hardline rhetoric against the jihadist terrorist attack that left 49 innocent people dead at a gay nightclub over the weekend. Cooper's execrable line of questioning -- which embraces exactly the sort of amoral, heinous equivalency I earnestly urged against in my Monday essay -- basically demanded that Bondi justify her public revulsion at the slaughter "despite" the fact that she's opposed same-sex marriage and defended her state's ban of the practice in court. How could she pledge to prosecute anti-gay violence to the fullest extent of the law when she'd never even promoted gay pride on social media? That is literally a question that a respected news anchor decided would be relevant and appropriate to ask in this context. It's maddening, and it's demoralizing. Watch:
Many Lefties and press types are giddy over Cooper's performance, for which he should actually be embarrassed. There is precisely zero hypocrisy -- none -- in an elected official both (a) opposing same-sex marriage as a public policy matter, and (b) unequivocally blasting the mass murder of gay people, and vowing to do everything in her power to prevent or severely punish similar outrages in the future. This should be patently obvious to anyone who doesn't reflexively assume that all opposition to gay rights legislative efforts are rooted in "hate." I'm by no means blind to the fact that genuine homophobia exists, and that some anti-LGBT sentiment is pure bigotry. I also disagree with Bondi's legal position (effectively endorsed by a lopsided majority of Florida voters in 2008) that the implementation of legalized gay marriage would inflict "harm" on the state. Bondi, who didn't acquit herself especially well in this exchange in my view, at least makes clear that she doesn't believe gay people are harmful, which is how Cooper unfairly framed the question.
Think about it: Here we have the state's top law enforcement officer being raked over the coals for her act of standing in solidarity with a community that had just found itself in the crosshairs of lethal terrorism. Her public stance on any number of policy disputes pertaining gay rights issues is irrelevant here -- unless she'd previously advocated in favor of anti-gay violence, which of course she had not. Times like these require ardent gay rights supporters and entrenched gay rights opponents alike to stand tall, shoulder to shoulder, against a surpassing evil that threatens our shared values. Cooper chose to use his formidable platform and gravitas to blur important distinctions and imply equivalencies that do not exist. In doing so, he actively participated in the division of America. He made it harder for his fellow countrymen to coalesce in needed unity, shared anger and joint resolve. He debased himself with his morally-bereft premise. I'll leave you with this:
Will @andersoncooper ask Hillary Clinton if she can really call herself a champion of LGBT, since it took her so long to support, too? (1)— Lee Doren (@LDoren) June 14, 2016
Yes, how on earth could Hillary Clinton convincingly vow to abhor the terrorism in Orlando when she's spent most of her political career opposing gay marriage? Come to think of it, here's another question for Cooper to ponder, based on his own standard:
Does @andersoncooper also wonder how Muslims, who overwhelmingly oppose SSM, could *possibly* simultaneously condemn the Orlando slaughter?— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) June 14, 2016