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Anderson Cooper: Opposing Illegal CIA Wars Is “Unelectable“

The big media use of the term “electability” is a convenient carrier for pro-war, pro-empire prejudice.

CNN's Anderson Cooper (pictured in Los Angeles, in 2009) questioned Sen. Bernie Sanders' "electability" during the first Democratic presidential debate of the 2016 race. (Photo: Joe Seer /

A key reason that the US has so many wars is that big US media have a strong pro-war, pro-empire bias. You rarely see big US media badgering a politician for supporting a war that turned out to be a catastrophe. But it’s commonplace for big US media to badger politicians for opposing wars, even catastrophic ones.

CNN journalist Anderson Cooper is a perfect example of this phenomenon.

Here’s Anderson Cooper, badgering Bernie Sanders at the first Democratic debate for opposing the CIA’s illegal war on Nicaragua in the 1980s:

The question is really about electability here, and that’s what I’m trying to get at. You – the – the Republican attack ad against you in a general election – it writes itself. You supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. You honeymooned in the Soviet Union. And just this weekend, you said you’re not a capitalist. Doesn’t – doesn’t that ad write itself?

Millions of Americans “supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua” in the 1980s. In 1979, the Sandinista National Liberation Front overthrew the US government-installed Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua, promising to address Nicaragua’s extreme poverty and the lack of basic government services like education and health care for the majority of the population. In 1982, Nicaragua was recognized by the World Health Organization as the third world country that had made the most progress in health care.

Under the Reagan administration, the CIA organized a terrorist army (the “Contras”) to attack the Nicaraguan government. Millions of Americans participated in a solidarity movement to oppose US military intervention in Nicaragua, including public radio host Ira Glass, actors Ed Asner, Mike Farrell and Diane Ladd, civil rights leader Julian Bond and engineer Ben Linder, who was killed in a terrorist attack by the CIA’s army. The US-Nicaragua solidarity movement succeeded in passing the Boland Amendment in Congress, cutting off US funding to the CIA’s terrorist army, which led the Reagan administration to try to fund the Contras illegally through arms sales to Iran. When these illegal activities were exposed, it became the Iran-Contra scandal.

During this period, Anderson Cooper was working for the CIA.

Opposing the CIA’s illegal war in Nicaragua was a mainstream, popular position at the time, as shown by the passage of the Boland Amendment by Congress. It’s only in the pro-war, pro-empire bubble of big US media that having opposed the illegal CIA war on Nicaragua could be portrayed as an electoral liability without any evidence. The big media use of the term “electability” is a convenient carrier for pro-war, pro-empire prejudice; the common sense meaning of “electable” would be “the majority of people might be willing to vote for you,” but here “electable” means “showing the unquestioning loyalty to war and empire demanded by big media.”

You can challenge Anderson Cooper to justify his unsubstantiated claim about the popularity of the CIA’s illegal war in Nicaragua here.

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