This summer, we brought you a Fox Business debate that was among the most heated and bizarre in memory. Now we bring you a CNN segment, equally bizarre, that may well be the most awkward TV news interview we've ever seen. Anderson Cooper interviews Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell, who has dedicated a stand-alone, frequently updated blog to attacking Chris Armstrong, the openly gay student-body president of the University of Michigan.
Shirvell's blog includes long rants about Armstrong's personal life, chronicles Armstrong's Facebook activity as well as the lives of Armstrong's friends and family members, and includes photos of Armstrong taken secretly by Shirvell himself. Shirvell even posts a very shaky video, which he took himself, of Armstrong's house at night. Shirvell writes long, rambling posts about Armstrong's sexuality and speculating in great detail about Armstrong's sex life. An image of a swastika-laden rainbow flag photoshopped over Armstrong's face makes an appearance.
Needless to say, the tenor of Shirvell's obsession have led some to conclude that he himself, as Wonkette's Josh Fruhlinger puts it, "may not be entirely comfortable with certain secret aspects" of his life.Whatever the reason, the interview with Anderson Cooper, nick-named "the silver fox" for his looks, was a bit difficult for Shirvell.
As Cooper sternly confronted Shirvell for his behavior, the Michigan Assistant Attorney General became visibly rattled. Interestingly, he mistakenly called Cooper "Chris" several times, possibly confusing the CNN host with the young gay student he has targeted. Ever the journalist, Cooper was more than prepared. When Shirvell said that Armstrong is pawn of gay rights groups and pursuing a "a deeply radical agenda," Cooper countered, "His biggest issues were extending hours of the cafeteria and lowering tuition, as well as some gender housing issues." Now that's research!
Things got really awkward when Cooper brought up Shirvell's status as a state official, which Shirvell responded to by nervously saying that he had thought the interview wouldn't address his job. Cooper went on to suggest he fit the legal status of a "cyber bully," after which Shirvell has trouble looking at the camera. Then Cooper called Shirvell "obsessed," broke out the Webster's definition for the word "bigot," and the interview went pretty much downhill from there.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.