Call it killing two birds with one stone. The mainstream media tries to keep the recovery from Hurricane Katrina in the public consciousness, while highlighting one of their favorite sons. That was the gist of a segment on Monday's "Anderson Cooper 360" on CNN. Host Anderson Cooper has consistently played-up the government's poor response to Hurricane Katrina (his appearance on ‘Oprah' as a prime example). At the same time, he gave John Edwards the silk glove treatment. Cooper, who at one point, labeled Edwards's stop in New Orleans a "political photo-op," went on to report, "Edwards insists this not a campaign swing. There are no rallies, no cheering crowds. A small gaggle of reporters follows him from stop to stop as he struggles for traction." Overall, his segment follows ABC's "heaping helping" of Edwards's townhall meeting in New Orleans.
Two parts involving Elizabeth Edwards highlighted the absurdity of the segment. Cooper gave this syrupy-sweet take on her involvement in her husband's campaign.
COOPER (voice-over): With him much of the time, his wife, Elizabeth, a celebrity in her own right, fighting a personal and public battle with cancer. She's a top adviser and her husband's chief defender.
COOPER (on camera): How angry do you get when you read about his $400 haircut or criticism of the house you guys are building?
ELIZABETH EDWARDS: Well, you know, you don't want to sound defensive about it, because the -- John thinks that he -- if he had known that he was getting a $400 haircut, he -- he probably wouldn't have done that. So, you know, you don't want to sound -- you don't want to blame somebody else for a mistake that you made. And, if somebody cares about the haircut and focuses on that, then they're not focusing on the real issues, where he can change, change this country. And, so, that angers me. It angers me that it's used as a political poking stick by our opposition.
Instead of asking why the haircut incident happened in the first place, or how they're going to handle it, Cooper asked Mrs. Edwards about her reaction to the legitimate criticism.
Earlier in the segment, as Cooper asked John Edwards about the federal government's "neglect" of the hurricane-stricken areas inside a SUV, Mrs. Edwards interjected, "So I had this idea where were in there. And that is, you put a FEMA trailer on the grounds of the White House, and we told the president he can live there until Winnie, who isn't here, gets to move back into her house."
Just prior to this segment on the Edwards campaign, Cooper reported that even with all the "governmental neglect," there was a success story.
COOPER: We will show you a success story as well, this other house right behind me rebuilt already, so that the family can move in very shortly in the next couple of weeks, rebuilt by a remarkable group here, volunteer work. For just a couple thousand dollars, they have been able to make improvements, when the government has failed. We will show you their efforts and how you can help ahead.
Cooper went on to give a straight-forward report on this group, which is called the St. Bernard Project. Even with this good reporting, the inability Cooper, and the mainstream media in general, to understand that private endeavors can often be more effective than government handouts to fix a problem shows how the mainstream media is stuck in their liberal worldview.
(Special thanks to MRC intern Michael Lanza for pointing out this segment.)