Anderson Cooper’s peter problem

Mole host Anderson Cooper may have left reality TV behind for CNN fame, but even at his new job, he’s still keeping us entertained. Anderson’s recent euphemism exchange with Ryan Seacrest, for example, was unexpected and full of fuel for those persistent rumors.

Last night, just flipping past Anderson Cooper 360, I watched live as Anderson flubbed a line while discussing a very serious subject. Perhaps it’s just the third-grader in me, but I found his mistake to be hysterical. You be the judge: emphasis is mine, but otherwise this is verbatim.

“But for some 500 other Americans each year, carbon monoxide is an unexpected killer–a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that does its damage quickly. More than a decade ago, it caught Catherine Mormile off-guard in Alaska, where she was competing in her third Iditarod race. She took a break to change her socks, and then a propane peter–heater, I should say–in an unvented tent almost killed her, almost.”

CNN’s transcriptionist apparently didn’t think this flub was significant, as the transcript for the segment omits the reference to the killer peter in the tent:

“She took a break to change her socks, and a propane heater in an unvented tent almost killed her–almost.”

Best of all, though, was the look on Anderson’s face as he said the word “peter.” He appeared to laugh for about a third of a second before adjusting his face and correcting himself, always the consummate, professional newsman.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.