Regardless of whether or not you agree with Anderson Cooper's politics, the guy is arguably one of the last real journalists left in the mainstream media. During his CNN show on Thursday, the host proved that during his "Keeping Them Honest" segment where he ripped into Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) for "misquoting" a Los Angeles Times article in a fundraising email, in which she attempted to tie GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's abortion stance to Rep. Todd Akin's. Akin came under fire this week from all sides for arguing that women’s bodies can prevent pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape."
Cooper was persistent in trying to coax an apology out of Schultz, but she remained defiant throughout the entire segment.
The email in question argued that the GOP "just voted to embrace Akin’s position by including a constitutional ban on all abortions — even in cases of rape or incest — in their 2012 platform."
Schultz also criticizes Romney and his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in the email for "saying they don’t entirely agree with that plank." Cooper then addressed the LA Times quote that Schultz used to make her point, which he says she "misquoted." From the email:
“…but guess what? The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that the platform was, and I quote, 'written at the direction of Romney’s campaign.'"
Those exact words did actually appear in the LA Times, Cooper explained, but Schultz took them "completely out of context."
Now, here is the entire paragraph that was printed in the Times earlier this week:
There is no doubt about who is in charge, of course. Delegates for presumptive nominee Mitt Romney are voting down substantive changes to the platform language that was written at the direction of Romney’s campaign. The biggest question is whether the tone remains polite, as it was at the outset of two days of deliberations, or whether dissenters spoil the image of harmony that the Romney campaign is working hard to produce.
You see, the Times article is saying the Romney campaign helped make suggestions for the GOP platform, but it makes no mention of abortion policy. Cooper confronted Schultz for taking the quote out of context to further her own political agenda.
"First, the abortion language in the 2012 platform, it hardly differs from the 2008 language and the 2004 language in the platform. That language obviously wasn’t written by the Romney campaign," Cooper said, adding that a CNN reporter was present while the platform was being crafted and he said Romney advisers didn't make suggestions on abortion plan.
"Factually speaking, Mitt Romney did not design or direct the writing of the Republican Party platform... you can't say they designed the abortion section," Cooper continued.
It seemed obvious enough that Schultz had been caught bending the truth to smear the Romney campaign. Surely she would apologize, right? Not even close.
"Anderson, we definitely can say it," Schultz replied, then trying to justify her allegation by saying Romney has "embraced" the party's platform.
Even after Cooper accused her outright of wrongly trying to tie the Romney/Ryan ticket to the misguided abortion stance of Rep. Akin, she still wouldn't relent. He then asked whether she acknowledges that Romney does, in fact, support abortion in cases of rape, incest and danger to the life of the mother. But because it didn't fit her narrative, she dodged the question and instead regurgitated talking points about the stark differences between Romney and President Obama on women's rights and how Republicans are evil and make no exceptions when it comes to abortion.
Cooper tried to keep the conversation on point and told Schultz that her email claimed the Romney campaign helped draft the GOP abortion platform, when it didn't -- the campaign didn't even offer suggestions on the topic.
Finally, Schultz at least admitted that Romney's views on abortion are not identical with the official Republican platform but made sure to inject an insult, saying Romney "talks the talk" but "certainly doesn't walk the walk," insinuating that Romney says one thing out loud and believes another.
Cooper eventually revisited the issue of her misquoting the LA Times article in her fundraising email.
"Anderson, it doesn't matter," Schultz said to an increasingly frustrated Cooper.
"It does," he shot back. "Your saying it's proof of your position, and it's not proof of your position." He later added, "I think what you say does matter."
Schultz again would not actually address Cooper's concern that the LA Times was misquoted and again fell back on talking points about how Romney doesn't want women to have the ability to make their own "reproductive choices."
"But just as you don't like being misquoted, I don't like being misquoted, I'm sure the LA Times doesn't like being misquoted to back up your political position," Cooper added.
Seemingly fed-up with his guest, Cooper finally asked Schultz if she would admit that the quote in the email is "completely incorrect."
"No, I don’t acknowledge that," Schultz replied, explaining that Romney can't "separate himself" from the Republican party platform.
"He has," Cooper said, exasperated. The host was unable to make any further progress with his guest.
Watch the entire segment via CNN here:
Front page image via CNN.