In a CNN interview Wednesday, that was more like a botched hatchet job, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman sat down with Anderson Cooper. Goodman has taken the controversial position that hotels and casinos on the Vegas Strip should be opened. Cooper was aghast at the very thought of it and made his disdain felt throughout the entire 25-minute interview.
It’s striking to watch Cooper move the goalposts from questioning the opening of the strip, to asking “so you don’t believe in social distancing?” It’s an off balance straw man. Social distancing exists on a spectrum, through hygiene and spacing, the spread of the virus can be reduced without closing every non-essential business.
Cooper seemed absolutely gobsmacked when Goodman suggested that businesses themselves would find and implement methods to keep customers and employees as safe as possible, but ultimately this is what needs to happen, private businesses do not exist at the largesse of the government.
It is important to understand that no governor of any state relaxing restrictions is forcing any business to open or any customer to go there. Rather, they are allowing free people the right to make their own choices. At some point don’t we need to get back to that? Isn’t that kind of central to the whole “freedom thing?”
As Cooper harangued his guest with meme worthy “I can’t believe you said that” facial expressions, not the least bit interested in fleshing out anything she was saying, something telling occurred. Or, rather did not occur. When Goodman rightfully noted that reopening with no risk could not happen for over a year Cooper had absolutely no answer as to when they might be able to open.
He chose to make the interview a debate, he chose the terms of the debate. It was a debate about when the Vegas Strip should open. But while the mayor was getting ripped on Twitter by smug CNN fans, the best Cooper could come up with was saying people not having jobs is “awful” but its too soon to open, we don’t know when it will be time, but we will be sure to let you know. That doesn’t put food on the table for hotel and casino workers in Nevada.
From the outset of the virus, well, that’s not true, since CNN realized they could blame Trump for the virus, they have treated this as a moral issue, not a policy issue with legitimate competing interests. Nobody understands those competing interests better than mayors who will face severe budget shortfalls, huge unemployment, closed businesses, increased drug use and a host of social ills that hosts like Anderson Cooper don’t think matter compared to social distancing.
But it’s not Anderson Cooper or anyone at CNN who will be dealing with the aftermath of this crisis in six months, they will be covering an election. It’s mayors like Carolyn Goodman who will have to be there for their communities and they deserve some modicum of respect and to be listened to. People need to hear what she thinks, presumably that’s why she was on. Everyone already knows what Anderson Cooper thinks; he just really loves saying it.