Tuesday night on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, analyst David Gergen called Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich "the idiot."
Here's the quote: "I have a hard time pronouncing his name. I just call him the idiot," Gergen said.
Out of a veritable blizzard of words said on cable and network TV about the arrest of Blagojevich on corruption charges, that is the one bite that has stayed with me. I have been thinking about it all day and wondering if it was OK for Gergen to say it.
No matter how vile Blagojevich might seem from the indictments and the FBI transcripts, is this kind of name calling appropriate? Does it somehow go beyond civil discourse? Or, am I being too sensitive?
I think part of my problem is that Gergen, a former presidential adviser, always seems so measured, understated and careful in his choice of words. Also, Anderson Cooper 360 is the model of civil discourse for cable TV compared to his competition at 10 p.m. on MSNBC (Keith Olbermann) and Fox (Greta Van Susteren).
Here is what one the commenters at Z on TV, Paul Kellogg, wrote today: "... However, as an example of something I'd rather not see or hear is David Gergen (usually pretty good) - on AC 360 last night - saying that he can't pronounce Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's name and that he calls him the Idiot( Laughter all around). Too lighthearted for this kind of story."
What do you think?