June 16, 2014 at 6:07 pm EDT | by Kevin Naff
Anderson Cooper shilling for Bush
Anderson Cooper, CNN, gay news, Washington Blade

CNN’s Anderson Cooper introduced a faux documentary on George H.W. Bush on Sunday night. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

CNN on Sunday night aired a “documentary” about former President George H.W. Bush on the occasion of his 90th birthday.

It was a glowing tribute to the nation’s 41st president filled with testimonials from notables, including President Obama, Bill Clinton and 39 other friends and family members. What was missing was a warning that what viewers were about to see was propaganda masquerading as journalism.

As noted by the always spot-on David Zurawik, the program —  titled “41ON41” —was paid for by the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation and one of its producers worked as a speechwriter for Bush in the White House.

As Zurawik wrote, “Our national history belongs to all of us, and while there is nothing wrong with a rich and powerful family putting up money to create this kind of birthday gift for one of its members, it is not OK for a channel with the word ‘news’ in its title to try and present it to millions of Americans as a “documentary’ or ‘history.’”

If your head hasn’t exploded yet, it gets worse. The whole sorry mess was introduced by gay CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who seemed not to mind being used in a propaganda effort to bolster the reputation of Bush, a former CIA director and the vice president during the Reagan administration’s abysmal response to the burgeoning AIDS epidemic. Bush’s own record on LGBT issues is fairly sparse and he recently attended a gay wedding. But his legacy is more complicated — especially to the gay community ravaged by AIDS during his tenure in office — than was alluded to in CNN’s so-called “documentary.”

Shame on Cooper, CNN and its president Jeff Zucker for blurring the lines so shamelessly between journalism and propaganda. CNN has shown that its programming is now for sale to the highest bidder and its anchors, including the gay ones, will do anyone’s bidding if the price is right.

Kevin Naff is the editor and a co-owner of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest and most acclaimed LGBT news publication, founded in 1969.

  • Umm. Umm. He, uh, umm, wasn't as bad as his son… I guess.

  • No one person can make everyone happy and the Bushes were NO worse than any other lying politician ! Calling out Anderson Cooper for doing his job is a lot over the top ! Thank God everyone does NOT share your opinion

  • of course, the Washington Blade printed this, they hate Republicans. all news fit to line the bottom of the bird cage

  • It’s not about hating Republicans to tell the whole story about George H.W. Bush and his inaction during the AIDS epidemic. He was the commander and chief. If Reagan had mobilized efforts immediately to help identify what the disease was and then urged funding to find a cure, many gay men would not have died and the disease might not be the pandemic is has become. AIDS was used as a weapon against the gay rights movement by religious conservatives exploiting the fear if not hysteria that existed back then by society to set us back and defeat our struggle for equality! It was working for awhile before people were better educated on the issue. They had heavy influence over the Reagan and then George H.W. Bush Administration to prevent any help to our community. Their response was to blame the victims for their own actions. Practice abstinence was their response.

    Many of us lived through those years and experienced it first hand and fortunately survived. People today can’t understand the fear within the community back then and the backlash associated with it by society. There were no life prolonging drugs back then. HIV and AIDS was a death sentence. People committed suicide to avoid its devastating effects. The stigma was awful and people feared the fallout. People treated you like a pariah not only outside the community but often within from fear of getting it. To ignore the suffering associated by Reagan and Bush in the situation is an insult to all those that died because of it and all those that fought to make it better. We lost our friends, neighbors and family. I’ll never see some people again because of it.

    Bush may have evolved since then but it’s a crime to history to ignore the truth or rewrite it.

  • Linda French Then why are posting here? Are you a brain-dead Log Cabiner or just a homophobic troll?

  • I haven't watched CNN since they broadcast the sniper killing of young boy in Syria. But I wish I had watched it Sunday when the show aired

  • Debbie Steele : When someone from ST. EDWARDS in TEXAS writes that they think the very publication they are posting on should "line the bottom of the bird cage", then they are an obvious troll. Sorry I wasn't all sweetness and light for the God Squad.

  • I see what you are saying but what about all the Presidents before The Bushe’s ? Aids did not get out of control during their time in office it’s been killing our brothers and sisters like a wild fire way before the Bushe’s were in office, therefore there’s plenty of blame to go around for all past and present Presidents and the other lying politicians. Maybe we should blame these big drug compaines, because the drug that we have all been hearing about for years is not being allowed to be put on the market because of simple GREED drug , EVERY politician that is or that has ever served ,has their hands in the drug companies pockets . SO WHY SINGLE OUT ONE ?

  • It was likely part of the Bush45 (Jeb) ongoing rollout. See, y’all… the Bush-ies and Shrubs have always been kinder, gentler … even queer-friendly.

    Though seemingly a ‘two-fer’ — they probably didn’t want Don Lemon, as black queers will scare and stir too many of Jeb’s opponents’ southern, Tea Party bases. Jeb counts on dividing the TP/conservative voters to secure the nomination, and then kinder, gentler, queer-friendly (and his Latina patina) to beat Hillary.

    41? 43? 45? They’re playing it coy through Bar, but it’s they’re same old family game… SOS. Don’t expect hard-hitting news craft from CNN these days.

  • WOW ,so I now see this paper isn’t interested in an honest opinion , or different political view other than your own, therefore you remove my post and erase my words ,that were simply exercising my freedom of speech ! All I can say is when you forget that we are all in this together, and that you being closed minded makes you NO better than the homophobic’s out there that are preventing us from having our equal rights !

  • Linda French from right wing tx and worked at a catholic university that you can be sure sees gaya marrying as blasphemy


  • True…Bush did suck on LGBT issues.

  • True…Bush did suck on LGBT issues.

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