'Campaign Operatives Are People Too': CNN's Cooper On Debate Questions

Mary Katharine Ham briefly chatted with CNN's Anderson Cooper and David Bohrman about tomorrow's CNN/YouTube debate and concerns about the agenda of questions that will be picked. For the whole thing, go here, but I just had to share this priceless gem (my emphasis in bold). First Ham's question, then Cooper's answer:

Q: There’s been a bit of scandal about the screening that CNN did on its “undecided voters” for the last Democratic debate. The diamonds-and-pearls question was attacked by the questioner herself. There were some allegations that several of the voters were in fact liberal activists on quite a few issues (and one Democratic Party operative). What’s the process for checking these YouTube questioners and their affiliations?

AC: “Well, campaign operatives are people, too. We don’t investigate the background of people asking questions…that’s not our job...

Ten days ago, NewsBusters associate editor Noel Sheppard noted how CNN stocked the audience of a Democratic debate, and on November 20 I included video from Hot Air's Bryan Preston on how undecided voters at the Democratic debate were largely left-wing activists.

On Monday, NewsBusters contributor Brad Wilmouth documented how CNN has been highlighting left-wing YouTube questions in their promotional programming for the Wednesday debate:

If the preview shown on "CNN Sunday Morning" is any guide, Wednesday's CNN/YouTube Republican debate will likely be dominated by questions posed from the left, just as the CNN/YouTube Democratic debate also featured questions posed from the left. CNN correspondent Josh Levs showed clips of several sample questions, including a question from a gay Republican who charges "a vote for you is a vote against my family," a question from a woman concerned about "returning the civil liberties to the American people and stopping these outrageous attacks on our security and our privacy," and a question about CEO salaries increasing faster than the minimum wage. While Levs cautioned that he does not know whether any of the questions used in his piece will be chosen for the debate, none of the questions that appeared in the report were posed from a conservative point-of-view.

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Political Groups Media Bias Debate Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential Liberals & Democrats Debates Media Business Journalistic Issues Mary Katharine Ham