Anderson Cooper Cherry Picks Poll Info to Disgrace Republicans

In a critical "Keeping Them Honest" segment Wednesday night, CNN's Anderson Cooper selectively reported findings from his network's own poll to bolster his argument that Republicans are out-of-touch with the wishes of the American people in the debt ceiling debate.

This came even after the Democrat Senate Majority Leader, supported by the president, produced a plan including no tax increases in an effort to garner Republican support. Yet Cooper still peddled a CNN poll showing public support for a plan including increased tax revenues, and framed Republicans as dishonest for claiming Americans want no more taxes.

Cooper ignored an equally important finding in his network's own poll – that two-thirds of respondents favored a "Cut, Cap, and Balance" plan that was championed by House Republicans. Instead, he focused on the 64 percent of people wanting a budget plan with both spending cuts and tax increases, as the CNN/ORC poll released last week found.

Not only Cooper, but also the rest of CNN did not report certain results from its own poll from last week. In fact, on the June 21 edition of Anderson Cooper 360, GOP Congressman Tom Graves twice told fill-in anchor John King of the support for "Cut, Cap, and Balance." King was oblivious to it and seemed to think it was not a part of the poll.

Cooper on Wednesday spoke of a possible debt ceiling deal and asked if it would conform to the wishes of most Americans. "Will it be the kind of deal that most Americans say they want? Well 'Keeping Them Honest,' the answer seems to be no." He then reported the poll finding that conformed to his argument.

After reporting on the poll, Cooper provocatively asked "So why is the Boehner bill cuts-only? And why is Democratic Senator Harry Reid's plan also cuts-only? Democrats have backed away from any measures that raise revenues to accommodate Republican demands. And Republicans say Americans are not willing to see any taxes go up."

After playing a slew of soundbites from prominent Republicans claiming Americans don't want higher taxes or increased tax revenues, Cooper asserted that "most polls show that's simply not true."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on July 27 at 10:01 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

ANDERSON COOPER: Now, anyone with a 401(k) has got to be worried at this point and watching this closely or should be. But assume for a minute that Washington gets in gear and passes some kind of debt reduction deal before the Treasury runs out of money and the markets react. Will it be the kind of deal that most Americans say they want? Well "Keeping Them Honest," the answer seems to be no. Take a look at the latest CNN/Opinion Research Center polling. It shows 64 percent prefer a budget plan with a mix of spending cuts and tax increases; 34 percent say cuts only.

That's consistent with other polling which is averaging nearly two-to-one in favor of what President Obama and others call a balanced approach. He said on Monday that's what he wants. You say that's what you want by a 30-point margin. So why is the Boehner bill cuts-only? And why is Democratic Senator Harry Reid's plan also cuts-only? Democrats have backed away from any measures that raise revenues to accommodate Republican demands. And Republicans say Americans are not willing to see any taxes go up.

(Video Clip)

Rep. ERIC CANTOR (R-Va.), House Majority Leader: Right now this economy is ailing. And we don't believe, nor do I think the American people believe, that raising taxes is the answer.

Rep. TOM PRICE (R-Ga.): I think what the American people appreciate is that you don't reinvigorate the economy by raising taxes.

Rep. JOHN BOEHNER (R-Ohio), Speaker of the House: The American people don't want us to raise taxes.

Sen. JOHN MCCAIN (R-Ariz.): The American people didn't want their taxes raised, and they wanted us to cut spending. They don't want compromise.

Rep. SAM JOHNSON (R-Tex.): It's time to cut spending, balance the budget, and pay down the debt for our children and our grandchildren without raising taxes.

Rep. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-Minn.), presidential candidate: There is absolutely no appetite anywhere across the United States for increasing taxes.

Rep. JIM JORDAN (R-Ohio): I think the American people are against raising taxes on the job creators out there.

(End Video Clip)

COOPER: Well, again, most polls show that's simply not true. As we showed you last week the phrase, by the way, "job creator" is a new talking point. It's how Republicans are now referring to wealthier Americans. Democrats, by the way, of course, refer to them as millionaires and billionaires and talk about private jets a lot. Talking points used by both sides in this debate.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014