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Anderson Cooper approaching a meltdown over Haiti

by Hemal Jhaveri, posted Jan 19th 2010 10:03AM
Anderson Cooper Yeah, I'm obsessed with CNN right now. After days of being glued to Anderson Cooper 360, it's becoming clear that he's seriously coming off the rails. During last night's broadcast, Cooper seemed to do little reporting and a lot of "ranting" (his words) about the lack of supplies and aid getting to Haiti.

It's honestly riveting. Not only is he airing his frustration at the red tape hindering the process, but he seems to be approaching Katrina levels of pissed off.

At one point, after a story about orphans, Cooper became angry that a Doctors Without Borders flight was not allowed to land in Haiti, but non-injured orphans were flown out using runways. While I sympathize with his frustration, Cooper has certainly lost his journalistic detachment. At the end of this rant, he practically shouted something along the likes of, "It's not that I don't love orphans! I love and care about orphans ... so please don't send me angry e-mails."

Later, after another extended spiel to Sunjay Gupta about the aid efforts, he finally paused for breath and mumbled, "OK end of rant ... for now," becoming sweaty and red-faced.

Now, his candid manner is part of what makes Cooper so watchable. His everyman attitude during natural disasters makes the news accessible without it becoming shoddy journalism. He's saying what a lot of people must be thinking. And his anger and frustration at the situation is palpable and it brings an unvarnished look to the disaster we rarely see.

Cooper's rants and recent rescue of a young boy have also made him something of a hero. Twitter and Facebook are all a buzz with praise of his actions.

If anything, the CNN reporters being affected by these horrible stories makes the tragedy all the more real. I don't know if that makes them bad reporters, but I don't think so. Though, honestly, can someone please check up on Anderson Cooper? After last night's 360, he looks like he's approaching a full on meltdown.

Update: CNN has posted the transcript from last night's 360 and here are some of Cooper's exact words:

COOPER: Well, I mean, you sort of wonder, I mean, there is some sort of Haitian government. You kind of wonder where they are. Are they in a bunker somewhere?

Because I mean, they could put -- they could start compiling a list, they could start putting together some photographs. Everyone is sort of like pretending like, you know, oh, you can't say anything about the Haitian government because, you know, they can't be expected to actually do anything.

But I mean, you know, they're adults. They know how to do this. You would think they could at least come out and make some announcements to these people in the park about where to go, what to do.

I haven't heard any sort of official government -- even if the President drove around in a pickup truck with a microphone and a speaker I think an awful lot of people here would be happy. A lot of Haitians would be glad to see their president and glad to hear that you know -- get some actual information because there's not a lot of information being disseminated.

...COOPER: Inflatable that they deploy. I mean of all the people who need surgery out here, they employ these inflatable units to conduct surgery save people's lives. That plane wasn't allowed to land here in Port-au-Prince. Had to land in Dominican Republic then be driven over land here. That must have taken -- I don't know -- six hours or at least eight to ten hours extra not including flight time and organization time.

People die because of these decisions and then you hear that, you know, others sorts of planes are getting in taking out, you know, groups of people. I just don't understand how decisions are being made when the most important thing right now besides search-and-rescue teams is getting doctors on the ground here operating, saving lives, stopping infections from spreading, getting medicine to those who need it.

GUPTA: You know, usually when you ask me a question I have an answer for you.

COOPER: Right. I didn't have a question, that was just like a rant.

And later on, he flips out about the orphans

COOPER: .... Doctor, what has gone wrong here? I mean, why is it that nearly seven days after this thing began, you know, is a plane from Doctors without Borders, not able to land right now? They were supposed to land at 8:00 tonight. They are not sure why they're not allowed to land. Their mobile set -- their mobile surgical unit wasn't allowed to land yesterday. They had to go to Dominican Republic.

And yet, a plane from a governor in a democratic state is able to land and take out, you know, several orphans and, I mean, we all love orphans and want them to be ok, but I mean, does -- are the right decisions being made?

[Also, here are other ways to help Haiti victims]

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Keyser Soze

You People Are Crazy as Hell for knocking AC Flat Out!!! I am Black, & I have seen Death up close & Personally but nothing like Katrina, or Haiti! ANDERSON COOPER IS A REAL DUDE! he is Someone that I respect alot! All that I have seen him days over the Years is Try to help people Black, white, or whatever! He gets a definite Pass in My Hood! If anybody every fux with AC & I'm around Black, white or whatever! They can get it! For anyone that things AC does things for photo ops, you are stupid as hell! Have you ever been working around A dead body? Try 100,000 dead bodies! Dude is hurting inside & is trying to hide it, but people how Professional can you be after 2 weeks of Death in the air, bodies on the streets? Keep doing what you do AC! I am black, & you are white, you are my Brother! You care about people & that's all that matters! Peace! Now that's a Rant!

January 24 2010 at 3:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Keyser Soze's comment

He needs to come home. He must be suffering from PTSD at this point and is loosing his edge. Last night he went on and on about "mass graves". Focusing on whether they were completely covered in dirt. Critical of aid delivery to the living but he wants resources diverted to the dead. It's like he is out of touch with the reality of the disaster. NEVER has a poor country received so much support. While fond of pointing our the defects he has yet to identify a comparable disaster (and I mean in scope) that was better managed.

January 27 2010 at 8:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Donna Sheldon

It takes a mighty heart to report on human tragedies over and over again. Anderson is not only a journalist; he is a prfoundly compassionate human being. I appreciate that in him and in all journalists who can face these crises head on and report back to us. I don't expect a straight face and a detached demeanor.

January 22 2010 at 9:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just wait for Cooper or another member of the media to get injured like Robert Woodward or, worse yet, killed.

Lord knows, one member of the U.S. media is more important than 4,000 troops or 100,000 Haitians.

January 19 2010 at 11:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jim's comment

I meant Bob Woodruff. My bad.

January 20 2010 at 12:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wouldn't say that he flipped out. Really. I saw the footage when it first aired. He was far, far, far from flipping out. He was saying things and questioning things other people and newscasters haven't. Where is the government, where is the organization, and who is in charge...and pressing the issue. That's a hardnosed journalist in the thick of things. So thank you Anderson Cooper. This is me saying this: Obama is such a great guy, so in charge, right? If internet and phones are working (I got an email from Haiti) how hard is it to get in touch with the major organizations and find out where they are in Haiti? It's been a week. Logistics person anyone? Obama is concerned with Massachusetts right now, flat out.

January 19 2010 at 5:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
L. Smith

I agree with Anderson a hundred percent. Why is the US military taking over the airport? Why are they allowing soldiers with guns to land, but turning away doctors? This is maddness. Have we seen any footage of US military rescueing people? or helping with anything but security? Don't get me wrong, I see Americans and AID organizations from the US doing great work, but why so many guns?
A Haitian man said " we do not want your guns they are weapons of death. We are a traunatized people. We need your technical support, not your guns."

January 19 2010 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kona Gallagher

I love the phrase, "Katrina levels of pissed off." Well done, and so true.

January 19 2010 at 3:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

that reminds me of the film The Hunting Party where Richard Gere has a more dramatic meltdown on camera.

January 19 2010 at 2:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I understand Anderson Cooper's actions. I couldn't imagine what it is like over there. Just hearing people's testimonies and seeing the images on the news is so disturbing and heartbreaking. I understand that he is a journalist and there has to be a wall between you and that subject matter but sometimes some events are so devastating that sometimes that those walls fall down.

January 19 2010 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can understand a jounalist covering a situation like the earthquake in Haiti becoming overwhelmed. I am an RN and I was in New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina, and that was really bad, all the people that were in such dire need. And this Haitian nightmare sounds way worse, the last I heard there were over 70,000 bodies found, and that was a few days ago. This would be overwhelming even to medical personnel, who are taught to focus, not be emotionally involved, and stay calm. I can't imagine how a journalist, who just isn't used to such a level of complete disorder, could handle it. So cut him some slack, please. The man's doing the best he can and it's obvious he cares and I know its hurting him to see the death and destruction there. And I know it would add to anyone's level of frustration to see the morons there looting and attacking their own people. That part is just unbelievable.

January 19 2010 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I also agree Anderson Cooper needs to take a break !!! With almost nil sleep you will become unproductive. I do not want to watch the professionals have meltdowns. Sometimes you have to walk away for a few minutes to do your job!!!

January 19 2010 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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