While a guest on Howard Stern's radio show, Anderson Cooper of the Cable News Network surprised the host when he stated: “I don't think I'm going to vote. I don't think reporters should vote.”
Amazed co-host Robin Quivers then asked if he really doesn't cast any ballots in elections before stating: “That's like you're not a citizen!”
“A lot of reporters don't vote,” Cooper replied. “It's a thing. It's happened to me.”
“There have been years when I have voted because sometimes I felt maybe I should,” Cooper noted, “and then sometimes I go back and forth on this.”
“I am shocked by this,” Stern stated. “But you're an American, and you should care.”
“I don’t want to be influenced one way or the other,” the anchor replied.
“But people in other countries don't have this right,” Quivers -- who was obviously still surprised by Anderson's remarks -- asserted.
“My role is to ask questions,” Cooper stated simply.
“This might be the most shocking thing I've heard,” Stern noted.
“I've gone back and forth on it over my life,” the CNN anchor added, “so there have been some years when I voted.”
“When's the last time you voted?” Stern asked.
“I honestly can't remember,” Cooper responded.
Stern then tried to give the discussion a more humorous tone: “Isn't the truth that you're just too famous to vote and you don't like going and voting?”
“I actually enjoyed it,” the guest stated before asserting: “I don’t like feeling like I’ve taken a stand.”
“But you must have a stand in your mind,” Stern pressed on.
“I think it’s something you need to actively fight against and push against,” Cooper noted.
“You know what?” Stern then joked, “I'm not voting either.”
“There you go,” Quivers stated. “You've been trying to get out of it for years.”
“That's true,” the host said. “I'm kind of a reporter, too, in a weird way” and has interviewed several candidates and officials on his radio program.
However, “you've already declared your allegiance,” his co-host stated.
“I've always been a Hillary Clinton fan,” Stern admitted, noting that he made up his mind “even before [Donald] Trump announced” his candidacy. While stating that Trump “is a friend of mine and a friend of this show,” Stern asserted that Trump believed he “would get in and out in a month, and then sell some books.”
“I don't think Trump ever thought he would get this far,” he added. Regarding Clinton, Stern claimed: “I think she'd make a good president.”
That interview drew the attention of Erik Wemple, a blogger on news media for the Washington Post, who claimed Cooper was forced to use “shaky logic” to defend “the insanity of this position.”
“On one point, Cooper is right: This is a thing, and it goes a ways back,” Wemple noted. “Former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. avoided voting for many of the same reasons” the CNN anchor gave.
“Heck, Downie even refused to vote after stepping down as executive editor amid the high-profile presidential election of 2008,” the blogger stated.
The former editor was quoted as saying: "I’m not voting in November because I’ve kept my mind open about the candidates and issues during two years or so of having ultimate responsibility for our campaign coverage."
“This act of civic self-abnegation shows how serious” people like Cooper and Downie are "about their profession,” Wemple stated. “Credit them for that. Yet the argument, as Stern’s protestations made clear in his Cooper interview, falls apart even before scrutiny.”
Nearly 16 years ago, Michael Kinsley – a Post contributor – “demolished” that viewpoint when he stated: “Journalists are still citizens, with the rights and duties of citizenship.”
“Journalists are also people, for the most part, and people naturally develop opinions about the world around them,” he noted. “This is not a capacity you can turn on and off like a switch.”
As NewsBusters previously reported, Cooper has revealed his liberal bias in several instances, such as when he invoked “internment camps” while interviewing GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz on anti-terrorism measures.
And during a town hall in early February, Cooper served up a softball question when he asked Clinton if she “still believe[s] there’s vast right-wing conspiracy” to which she laughed and stated that it’s persisted and is “even better funded” by Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers than in the 1990s.
Given the fact that only six percent of people trust the media, perhaps Cooper's notion that journalists shouldn't vote might not be such a bad idea after all.