Flatly false, also ugly: Does Anderson Cooper like his job? His job as a national journalist?
On Tuesday night’s show, he failed to challenge a guest when he plainly should have. The guest in question made a false statement—a statement he knew was false.
Elsewhere, Cooper has corrected this misstatement. Tuesday night, with high feeling all around, he simply gave it a pass.
The guest in question was Barbara Arnwine, president of The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Arnwine made this statement about the juror Cooper interviewed one night before:
ARNWINE (7/16/13): This is obviously a woman who sees herself as divorced from “they.” She doesn't say this is the way “young people” think, this is the way “young people” act. She doesn't say this is the way “our community” acts. This is a person who I noticed, even in your interview, she kept talking about “George,” “Georgie.” And Trayvon was the “boy of color.”“I'm not accusing anybody of being a racist,” Geragos said, as he and Cooper suggested the jurors are racists.
GERAGOS: That goes back once again to what I said. This case was over in jury selection.
ARNWINE: Right. I agree with that.
GERAGOS: Nobody thinks of themselves—and I said this to you before. Nobody thinks of themselves as a racist, and I'm not accusing anybody of being a racist. What I'm saying is, race is the prism through which people see things. They don't—people don't consciously know it. And none of these jurors, when you interview them, if there's going to be five more that get interviewed, are going to say, “Yes, I'm a racist, and that's why I voted for George Zimmerman.”
COOPER: I have interviewed people who are in the KKK and they don't even say they're a racist!
That said, the highlighted statement by Arnwine was false. Cooper should have had the stones to say so.
Sorry, lynch mob! The juror in question never referred to George Zimmerman as “Georgie.” She didn't call Martin a “boy of color” or say anything like that.
Lynch mobs have always whipped themselves up through the use of such colorful claims. But the juror didn’t say those things—and she spoke on a first-name basis with regard to both Martin and Zimmerman.
Here's a large chunk of her basic assessment of what happened in Sanford that night. Routinely, she speaks on a first-name basis regarding both “Trayvon” and “George:”
COOPER (7/15/13): What did you think about George Zimmerman?You may not agree with this juror’s judgments. But everywhere she referred to “George,” she also referred to “Trayvon.”
JUROR B37: I think George Zimmerman is a man whose heart was in the right place, but just got displaced by the vandalism in the neighborhoods and wanting to catch these people so badly that he went above and beyond what he really should have done. But I think his heart was in the right place. It just went terribly wrong.
COOPER: Do you think he's guilty of something?
JUROR B37: I think he's guilty of not using good judgment. When he was in the car and he called 911, he shouldn't have gotten out of that car. But the 911 operator also, when he was talking to him, kind of egged him on. I don't know if it's their policy to tell them what to do, not to get out of their car, to stay in their car. But I think he should have said, “Stay in your car,” not “Can you see where he's gone?”
COOPER: Do you feel George Zimmerman should have been carrying a gun?
JUROR B37: I think he has every right to carry a gun. I think it's everybody's right to carry a gun, as long as they use it the way it's supposed to be used and be responsible in using it.
COOPER: Do you think Trayvon Martin threw the first punch?
JUROR B37: I think he did.
COOPER: What makes you think that?
JUROR B37: Because of the evidence. On the T. or on the sidewalk, where George says he was punched, there was evidence of his flashlight and keys there, and a little bit farther down, there was a flashlight that he was carrying. And I think that's where Trayvon hit him.
COOPER: So you think, based on the testimony you heard, you believe that Trayvon Martin was the aggressor?
JUROR B37: I think the roles changed. I think George got in a little bit too deep, which he shouldn't have been there. But Trayvon decided that he wasn't going to let him scare him and get the one-up on him or something. And I think Trayvon got mad and attacked him.
COOPER: Do you feel like you know for sure what happened in the altercation? And did the other jurors feel for sure that they knew what happened?
JUROR B37: Nobody knew exactly what happened. I mean, it started at one point. It ended on another point. Witnesses said they heard left-to-right movement. Other witnesses said they heard right-to-left movement. But the credible witnesses said they heard left-to-right movement. So whatever happened, I think the punch came, and then they ended up in front of the—in back of the house. I don't think anybody knows.
COOPER: When the defense in their closing argument played that animation of what they believe happened, did you find that credible?
JUROR B37: I found it credible. I did.
COOPER: What did you think of the testimony of Trayvon Martin's mother and father? Do you find them credible?
JUROR B37: I think they said anything a mother and father would say, just like George Zimmerman's mom and father. I think they're your kids. You want to believe that they're innocent and that was their voice, because hearing that voice would make it credible that they were the victim, not the aggressor.
COOPER: So in a way, both sets of parents kind of canceled each other out in your mind?
JUROR B37: They did, definitely, because, if I was a mother, I would want to believe so hard that it was not my son that did that or was responsible for any of that that I would convince myself probably that it was his voice.
COOPER: How critical, though, was it for you in your mind to have an idea of whose voice it was yelling for help? How important was that yell for help?
JUROR B37: I think it was pretty important, because it was a long cry and scream for help that whoever was calling for help was in fear of their life.
COOPER: Do you feel that George Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon Martin? Do you think race played a role in his decision, his view of Trayvon Martin as suspicious?
JUROR B37: I don't think he did. I think just circumstances caused George to think that he might be a robber or trying to do something bad in the neighborhood because of all that had gone on previously. There was an unbelievable number of robberies in the neighborhood.
COOPER: So you don't believe race played a role in this case?
JUROR B37: I don't think it did. I think if there was another person, Spanish, white, Asian, if they came in the same situation where Trayvon was, I think George would have reacted the exact same way.
Lynch mobs will always find new ways to hate. This is a basic human reaction, until we learn not to do it.
You know? In the astonishing ways King and Mandela taught and displayed?
Cooper should have stood up on his hind legs and told the truth about the person who had been his guest one night before. Instead, he went with the feel of the crowd.
Geragos seemed to accept the accuracy of Arnwine’s statement. After that, he and Cooper had a good old time implying their R-bombs around.