In Defense Of: Anderson Cooper
I didn't realize that when I posted the Breaking News: Aaron Brown leaves CNN story that it would cause such an avalanche of comments. Right now we're at 174 comments (not counting the 64 comments on my Anderson Cooper vs. Aaron Brown post), and 99.9% of the posters are very much pro Aaron Brown.
So I think it's about time someone stuck up for Mr. Cooper.
For some reason, people think that Cooper is the flash-in-the-pan, pretty boy, flavor of the month that replaced a much more experienced and capable newsman (Brown). But is this really the case? Did you know that Anderson Cooper is Gloria Vanderbilt's son? I bring this up not because I think it's important that he's related to someone famous or that I have a thing for designer jeans, I bring it up because someone like Cooper could have easily taken the easy way out. He could have become the male Paris Hilton and lived off his mother's money for the rest of his life. But do you know what he did? After the suicide of his older brother Carter in 1988, he bought a video camera and headed off to war zones in the Middle East. He didn't even have a job or an employer. He simply went to places like Burma and Zaire and Sarajevo and Somalia, started to file his own reports, and sent them to Channel One, where he once worked as a fact checker. That's how Cooper got his start.
Are we supposed to deduct points from Cooper just because he has the game show The Mole on his resume? First of all, like you wouldn't take that gig (flying around the world staying in great hotels and eating great food). Second, The Mole (the pre-celebrity version) was a terrific little game/reality show. Better than either Apprentice, and actually better than American Idol or Survivor.
When, exactly, did Aaron Brown do anything that would make him a better reporter or journalist than Cooper? I'm not talking about being the host of a show or an anchor (Brown seems perfectly amiable). I'm talking about actual reporting. Cooper has been in the trenches, whether its been in the Middle East, in Africa, or down in New Orleans confronting politicians about the rescue efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
Is Aaron Brown a bad newsman? Hardly. I enjoy his low-key manner (on both CNN and his other gig on ABC's overnight news several years ago). He'll show up again some place, I have no doubt. But just because Brown is gone from CNN and Cooper happens to be his replacement (something Cooper certainly couldn't help) doesn't mean that Brown is the good guy and Cooper is the bad guy. Cooper is a strong journalist and a strong TV personality. I'm interested to see what happens next with him.