Does CNN have different playbooks for the hosts of its news programs? A funny thing happened as the network continues to cover the murder trial of Michael Dunn, who is invoking the “stand your ground” defense in the shooting of an unarmed teenager. The defendant took the witness stand today with cameras rolling in the courtroom. Before Erin Burnett OutFront aired the testimony, the host told viewers, “We wanna warn you that some of the language you are about to hear in this testimony that we have put together could be offensive.” Then the network went to a clip of Dunn recounting what happened just before the shooting: “I hear, ‘I should kill that motherf*cker.’” After an edit, he said, ‘Then I hear, ‘I should f*ckin’ kill that motherf*cker.” All of those curse words were bleeped. But 30 minutes later, during Anderson Cooper 360˚, there was no advance warning about coarse language. And the “motherf*cker” aired unedited. Followed later by a “sh*t.” After rolling that tape — the second and third F-bombs that aired on OutFront were not including in the 360 package — Cooper simply moved on to a panel debate about which side had a better day in the courtroom. He later apologized via Twitter:
Apologies for the curses aired from the witness stand during the Dunn trial tonight. They should have been beeped out. I am deeply sorry.
— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) February 12, 2014