On his Thursday show, Anderson Cooper firmly denied a claim from the Presidential Oil Spill Commission that he attempted to gin up controversy about the Gulf Coast oil spill by booking guests who he thought would be “angry,” calling it “ludicrous” and “100 percent, without a doubt, completely untrue.”
The commission, which was set up to investigate the cause and aftermath of the spill, released its final report earlier this week. Buried in its hundreds of pages is this mention of Cooper, on page 139:
“Journalists encouraged state and local officials and residents to display their anger at the federal response, and offered coverage when they did. Anderson Cooper reportedly asked a Parish President to bring an angry, unemployed offshore oil worker on his show. When the Parish President could not promise the worker would be ‘angry,’ both were disinvited.”
A representative for Cooper fully denied the claim:
“This unattributed statement is completely false. Anderson Cooper never asked any parish president to bring an ‘angry’ oil worker, and never canceled on one because he couldn’t find anybody. Also, for this government report to claim that it was journalists who were encouraging residents and state and local leaders to “display their anger at the federal response” is offensive.”
And Cooper used his nightly “RidicuList” segment to issue his own refutation of the charges.
“That statement is 100 percent, without a doubt, completely untrue,” he said. “Just wrong. False.”
Cooper noted that the commission only says he “reportedly” disinvited a guest, meaning that it had no hard evidence for the claim. He also said that “the idea that journalists were manufacturing the anger and frustration and fear among residents and state and local officials is preposterous. I can’t speak for all journalists, but the idea that there were not plenty of legitimate reasons for people in the Gulf to be upset about the response to the spill is just ludicrous.”