Thursday, June 30, 2011
MSNBC Suspends Mark Halperin For Calling President Obama A ‘Dick’ On Morning Joe
by Colby Hall | 7:55 am, June 30th, 2011
A rough transcript of the exchange (via TVeyes):
Joe Scarborough: Mark Halperin, What was the president’s strategy? We are coming up on a deadline and the president decided to please his base, push back against the Republicans.I guess the question is, we know a deal has to be done. Is this showmanship? A lot of times you go up there and both sides and they act tough so their base will be appeased, then they quietly work the deal behind the scenes.
Mark Halperin: Are we on the seven second delay?
Mika Brzezinski: Lordy.
Halperin: I wanted to characterize how the president behaved.
Scarborough: We have it. We can use it. Go for it. Let’s see what happens.
Brzezinski: We’re behind you, you fall down and we catch you.
Halperin: I thought he was a dick yesterday.
Scarborough: Delay that. delay that. what are you doing? i can’t believe — Iwas joking. Don’t do that. Did we delay that?
Halperin: I said it. I hope it worked.
Scarborough: My mom is watching! We’ll know whether it worked or not.
Shortly after the incident, a chagrined Halperin apologized to the audience and later expressed a similar sentiment via his Twitter feed:
Update: MSNBC has issued the following statements:
Mark Halperin’s comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable. We apologize to the President, The White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst.
Statement from Mark Halperin:
I completely agree with everything in MSNBC’s statement about my remark. I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate. Again, I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the President, to my MSNBC colleagues, and to the viewers. My remark was unacceptable, and I deeply regret it.
Watch the video below, courtesy of MSNBC:
Posted by Peter at 3:37 PM
Added: Jun 30, 2011
Description: During an appearance at PromaxBDA: The Conference 2011, Anderson Cooper discussed how the format of his new daytime talk show, Anderson, will be different from his cable news programs.
Posted by Peter at 2:34 PM
Added: Jun 30, 2011
Description: Anderson says he's "not very good at vacations," but answers @ReinWerle, "Hey Anderson, when off the job, what is your favorite place to vacation? Adventure or relaxation? :)"
Do you have a question for Anderson? Go to http://www.andersoncooper.com
Posted by Peter at 1:21 PM
Posted at 09:39 AM ET, 06/30/2011
Anderson Cooper takes down ‘Real Housewives’ Countess LuAnn’s new song (Video)
By Sarah Anne Hughes
On Wednesday’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” the host used his “ RidicuList ” segment to take down a particularly heinous target: the new song from Countess LuAnn de Lesseps of “The Real Housewives of New York.”
The CNN host expressed his extreme dislike for the countess, as she likes to be referred to, darling, and the music video for her new song — and he uses that term loosely — “Chic, C’est La Vie.”
Apparently, Cooper is tired of people from the multi-city Bravo reality show making terrible music and he’s not going to take it anymore! He took the opportunity to also take down the tunes from “New Jersey’s” Danielle Staub, “D.C.’s” Michaela Salahi and “New York’s” Simon van Kempen.
But he won’t turn his back on “Atlanta” star Kim Zolciak’s “Tardy for the Party.” Some things are just sacred.
Now that Cooper’s making the move to daytime TV with “Anderson” this fall, it seems he’s letting his “Real Housewives” flag fly. He recently told AdWeek, “For years in news I was ashamed to admit I watch ‘Housewives.’ Now that I’m at daytime TV, I can fully reveal that I like ‘Housewives.’ ”
Sorry Cooper, but that’s not the best kept secret. He’s appeared on Andy Cohen’s “Watch What Happens Live” with “Atlanta’s” NeNe Leakes, who apparently drunk dialed him.
“You can be very serious and very passionate about [serious news] and still like NeNe Leakes,” Cooper told Adweek. You tell ‘em!
By Sarah Anne Hughes | 09:39 AM ET, 06/30/2011
Posted by Peter at 1:06 PM
Anderson Cooper Thinks We Don’t Know He Loves Real Housewives
Margaret Hartmann — For those of you confused about how Anderson Cooper's new daytime show will differ from his nightly news show on CNN, he explained in an interview with AdWeek:
"We think this will be the only show on the air that covers a broad spectrum of topics ... For years in news I was ashamed to admit I watch Housewives. Now that I'm at daytime TV, I can fully reveal that I like Housewives ... You can be very serious and very passionate about [serious news] and still like NeNe Leakes. People know that you can juggle different things."
This is going to be great, because oftentimes when the ladies on The View are 45 minutes into a debate on Obama's war strategy, we start thinking, "Okay, but what do you think of Snooki?" However, we're a bit concerned that AC thinks it's news that he likes Real Housewives. We figured out the extent of his reality TV addiction when he reenacted moments from Living Lohan on Regis and Kelly. The revelation that it goes even deeper makes us worry that his new show will just be an extremely disturbing version of Watch What Happens Live.
Posted by Peter at 11:36 AM
I usually agree with most of Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich's ideas; but this time he really fucked it up, big time! What did Kucinich expect from his trip to Damascus, a miracle? That the al-Assad guy would tell him "Yes, yes Mr. Kucinich, I will take myself and my royal family to a once in a lifetime, permanent vacation to Bermuda, and leave the whole country to the opposition."? (LOL -- with big caps). Instead Kucinich got the expected lies and the opportunity to see and observe only what the al-Assad guy wanted him to see -- nothing else.
What surprised me the most was Kucinich statement that "People have separated their estimation of the regime and their estimation for the president, that people still have a love and respect for the president but they do not have a love and respect for the regime." In view of all the information that has been able to make it across the Syrian border, I don't understand how come a serious person, a mostly trusted person like Kucinich would say some obvious lie like that! Go Figure.
June 29th, 2011
11:44 PM ET
Editor's note: Anderson Cooper reports on Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich's controversial trip to Syria.
U.S. lawmaker on fact-finding mission to Syria
From Jomana Karadsheh and Hala Gorani, CNN
June 28, 2011 -- 6:43 p.m. EDT
Damascus, Syria (CNN) -- U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the Ohio Democrat who's long been an outspoken anti-war voice in Congress, visited volatile Syria to explore the possibility of a resolution to the violence spiraling across that country.
Kucinich is part of a small delegation on a fact-finding mission to Syria and neighboring Lebanon.
He said in a statement Monday that he pursued the trip because his constituents, in a Cleveland-area district that includes many Arab-Americans, asked him to look into "conditions on the ground" and see if there's a solution to a situation that's "spinning out of control."
The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said President Bashar al-Assad met with Kucinich and the accompanying delegation Monday.
Criticism of Kucinich's trip has surfaced among activists because it is seen as legitimizing the al-Assad government.
But in his statement, Kucinich said he was planning to meet with "democracy activists, non-governmental organizations, small business owners, civilians as well as government officials."
Kucinich emphasized Tuesday that he met with people who are "actively involved" in the opposition, as well as government officials.
"I think it's really important for people involved in making policy to hear both sides," Kucinich told CNN.
The lawmaker arrived in Lebanon later Tuesday, where he plans to meet with President Michel Suleiman.
"Peace is not just the absence of war," Kucinich said, according to the statement.
"Peace is a conscious, active pursuit that requires work and communication. My work as a member of Congress requires that I learn firsthand about events in order to better understand policy alternatives for America and other nations."
Human rights activists have said that Syrian security forces have launched a violent crackdown on peaceful protesters since mid-March. The al-Assad regime has been roundly denounced by world powers for its fierce clampdown on protests.
Syria has disputed the criticism and has blamed the bloodshed on "armed groups."
Al-Assad repeated that claim when he met with Kucinich on Monday. SANA reported he "stressed the importance of differentiating between the people's legitimate demands to which the State responded through issuing decrees and laws and the organized armed groups which utilized these demands to create chaos and destabilize the country."
The news agency said al-Assad "reviewed the recent events taking place in Syria and the advanced steps achieved in the comprehensive reform program."
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford did not attend Kucinich's meeting with al-Assad and Kucinich didn't carry any messages from the Obama administration.
Kucinich had only given the embassy "a few hours" notice before coming to Syria, but did seek an embassy briefing before his meetings in Damascus, she said.
Nuland said that Kucinich was exercising his right as a member of Congress to travel abroad. She would not comment on his trip. Ford has met with some "senior advisers" to al-Assad who have the president's ear and can get messages to him, Nuland said, but declined to mention any names.
CNN's Joe Sterling and Elise Labott contributed to this report
Posted by Peter at 10:13 AM
...Low hanging fruit that's attached to strong rich people trees, strong corporation trees and strong tax cuts for the rich trees! And do NOT want to feed the hungry people of this Country!
June 29th, 2011
11:39 PM ET
..with Paul Begala, Dana Loesch, and David Gergen reporting
Editor's note: Anderson Cooper speaks to Paul Begala, Dana Loesch, and David Gergen about negotiations over the debt ceiling.
Obama pushes GOP on taxes in debt ceiling talks
By Tom Cohen and Alan Silverleib
June 30, 2011 5:58 a.m. EDT
Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama called on lawmakers Wednesday to overcome the "selfish" norms of politics and "do their job" in order to strike a deal on raising the federal government's current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by the start of August.
People shouldn't get "spooked," but "the yellow light (is) flashing," he warned. "This is urgent."
Top economic analysts have warned of potentially catastrophic repercussions if the ceiling is not raised by August 2, including skyrocketing interest rates and a plummeting U.S. dollar.
The president blasted congressional Republicans for refusing to consider raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans as part of any deal. Congress needs to be willing to "take on their sacred cows and do tough things" while moving away from "maximalist positions," he said.
He said Congress should cancel upcoming summer vacations if a deal isn't struck by the end of the week.
"I want everybody to understand that this is a jobs issue. This is not an abstraction," he said. "If the United States government, for the first time, cannot pay its bills -- if it defaults -- then the consequences for the U.S. economy will be significant and unpredictable. And that is not a good thing."
David Gergen: Will Obama's barbs help or hurt?
Obama made his remarks during a wide-ranging news conference covering the state of the economy, the wars in Afghanistan and Libya, and hot-button social issues such as same-sex marriage. It came at a time of rising questions over Obama's ability to maintain control of the political narrative and boost public confidence in his stewardship in the run-up to next year's presidential election.
GOP leaders have shown no signs of yielding in their opposition to higher taxes as part of any grand bargain with the White House. Recent bipartisan talks led by Vice President Joe Biden collapsed over the tax disagreement.
"The president is sorely mistaken if he believes a bill to raise the debt ceiling and raise taxes would pass the (Republican-controlled) House," Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said after Obama's news conference.
"A debt-limit increase can only pass the House if it includes spending cuts larger than the debt limit increase; includes reforms to hold down spending in the future; and is free from tax hikes," Boehner added. "The longer the president denies these realities, the more difficult he makes this process."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, insisted earlier in the day that Republicans will "refuse to let the taxpayers take the hit when it comes to reducing the debt."
The debate is "about holding Washington accountable for a change," McConnell said. "It's about refusing to subsidize the Democrats' irresponsible spending habits another day."
For his part, the president ripped Republicans for protecting "millionaires and billionaires," oil companies, hedge fund managers, and owners of corporate jets.
The wealthy, he said, can afford to pay higher taxes.
"You can still ride on your corporate jet. You're just going to pay a little more," Obama said.
Gloria Borger: Where are the adults?
At the same time, the president pushed Congress to act on a series of pending measures to help strengthen the economy faster, including easing the ability of entrepreneurs to get patents, providing loans to private companies for infrastructure development, and approving free trade agreements.
Obama noted that America's economy has gone through a series of major structural changes.
As a result, the country's economic problems are "not going to be solved overnight," he stressed.
Turning his attention overseas, Obama dismissed criticism that his administration failed to obtain clear congressional approval before committing U.S. military forces to the NATO-led campaign in Libya.
Some representatives and senators on both sides of the aisle argue the White House has violated the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which gives a president 60 days to get congressional approval for sending U.S. forces to war, followed by a 30-day extension to end hostilities.
The combined 90-day period ended last week.
Will Cain: The number that's killing the economy
Obama insisted that the War Powers Resolution does not apply in the case of Libya.
The law was intended to avoid a repeat of a Vietnam-style war, he said. In contrast, "this operation is limited in time and in scope."
"We have engaged in a limited operation to help a lot of people against one of the worst tyrants in the world," the president said. "A lot of this fuss" over the U.S. intervention in Libya "is politics."
It's become a "cause celebre for some folks in Congress," he asserted.
"We have done exactly what I said we would do" in Libya, Obama argued. America's allies "have carried a big load when it comes to these NATO operations" while "we've sent reams of information" to Capitol Hill.
"The noose is tightening" around longtime Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, he asserted.
The president reiterated the administration's stance that Gadhafi's removal from power is "the primary way that we can assure that the overall mission in Libya of people being protected" is successful.
Obama's claims regarding the War Powers Resolution echoed those made Tuesday by Harold Koh, a top State Department legal adviser, who argued before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the law does not apply to American forces in Libya because the U.S. mission is limited in terms of its scope, means, exposure of forces, and chances of escalation.
In short, administration officials believe the U.S. role in Libya does not meet the law's definition of hostilities.
Obama, however, overruled contrary legal opinions put forward by both the Pentagon and the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel in declining to seek congressional authorization, according to the New York Times.
On Afghanistan, Obama insisted that the United States and its allies "can be successful in our mission, which is narrowly drawn."
The president, who recently announced the withdrawal of 33,000 American "surge" troops by next summer, declined to use the word "victory" in reference to winding down the Afghan military mission. He instead stressed the success of U.S. forces in dismantling al Qaeda and preparing Afghan forces to assume responsibility for the country's security.
Noting this week's bombing of Kabul's Inter-Continental Hotel, he warned that the violence in Afghanistan will likely continue for "some time."
Turning to the debate over same-sex marriage, Obama refused to provide new specifics about his personal opinion. A supporter of civil unions, he has indicated in the past that his views on the matter are "evolving."
He noted, however, that his administration has stopped defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act against legal challenges.
Obama argued it is up to states to determine if they will legalize same-sex marriage, as New York recently did.
"The president, I've discovered since I've been in office, can't dictate precisely how this process moves," the president said.
The nation is "moving toward greater equality," Obama added. "I think that's a good thing."
Posted by Peter at 9:22 AM
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Anderson Cooper Discusses New Daytime Talk Show 'Anderson'
First Posted: 06/29/11 -- 05:53 PM ET | Updated: 06/29/11 -- 07:04 PM ET
If there's one thing Anderson Cooper wants you to know about his new daytime talk show, it's that it's "not a news program."
The "Anderson Cooper 360" host took to the stage of the PromaxBDA conference Wednesday morning, where he revealed some surprising details about his upcoming show, "Anderson."
"We think this will be the only show on the air that covers a broad spectrum of topics," Cooper announced. "For years in news I was ashamed to admit I watch [Bravo’s Real] 'Housewives'… now that I’m at daytime TV, I can fully reveal that I like the housewives.”
Fans of Cooper's CNN show might be surprised to hear that "Anderson", which premiers Sept. 12 of this year, will be not be centered around politics.
"There are so many places where viewers can get that," Cooper said, raising the the inevitable question of, 'in how many places can one find coverage of Real Housewife of Atlanta NeNe Leakes?' Far fewer (in fact, we can only think of one -- Bravo's own "Watch What Happens Live"). That's why Cooper intends to make "Anderson" one of those places.
"I talked about my interest in NeNe a lot, maybe too much,” Cooper admitted, relaying an anecdote (hopefully) similar to those he will bring up on his new show: “I am sitting there doing the news, my phone goes off and it is NeNe Leakes in the back of a limousine, I think clearly drunk, yelling ‘don’t be tardy to the party!’”
"You can be very serious and very passionate about [serious news] and still like NeNe Leakes,” he said. "People know that you can juggle different things."
Posted by Peter at 5:25 PM
Cable News Wars, Politics
Anderson Cooper, Jeff Zucker Talk Partisan Cable News
By Alex Weprin on June 29, 2011 -- 3:38 PM
“There was not a secret meeting that happened where we said ‘hey let’s go left!’ at MSNBC,” Zucker quipped. “I am sorry to disappoint. What happened, and I think this is pretty well documented now, is that Keith Olbermann emerged, principally with his anti-war viewpoint, and we couldn’t help but notice that. We put a program behind it, and we said ‘wow, flow still works.’ And it all started to work. It was a business decision.”
Zucker said that MSNBC’s primetime lineup does not have any effect on the NBC News brand as a whole, which includes the top broadcast morning show, evening newscast and Sunday show.
“My argument to that is, if it was hurting the brand “Today” wouldn’t continue to be in first place in its 15th year, Brian Williams wouldn’t continue to be in first place, “Meet the Press” would not continue to be the number one Sunday morning program,” Zucker said.
He went on to say that viewers, as a whole “get it,” and know what is news and what is commentary:
“I think the viewer gets it. They understand that CNN offers a very specific kind of reporting that is incredibly important, maybe more than ever. MSNBC offers–in primetime primarily–a particular point of view. Fox News Channel offers a point of view, and I think the viewer understands that.
[Viewers] have so many places where they can get news and information. I think that what is more important than ever in this day and age is brands. CNN stands for something, and I am not just saying that because Ali is sitting here. The peacock at NBC News stands for something. There is 40 years of brand equity there, people have died for that peacock in the coverage of news.
I know that I can believe the peacock and “NBC Nightly News,” and I know that I can believe CNN, and I think that the viewer gets what is across the spectrum.
Meanwhile, Cooper was asked where he sees the rise of partisan cable news hosts leading, and responded by saying that he has little interest in it:
I don’t know where it leads, ultimately I don’t think it leads to a great place. It is interesting to me that when there is a breaking story people turn to CNN, I think because we have worldwide great coverage, but also because they don’t want a slant on it, they just want to know what is happening. As networks become more focused on being partisan, they reduce the number of reporters they have, they reduce their coverage of events, because it is cheaper to just hire someone who yells loud, or is effective at it, or smart and clever at what they are doing. There are lots of people at other networks doing it and they do it very well, but as a viewer it doesn’t interest me.
Like Zucker, he said that he believed viewers are able to tell the difference between hard news, and partisan talking points:
I think viewers are incredibly smart, and don’t need to be separated in terms of what they are being told. I always find it odd that a conservative network will focus on just the stuff that is damaging to the other side, but not be critical of their own side, and the same thing with the liberal network often. I am much more interested in trying to figure out what is true and what is not, and focusing on that.
Posted by Peter at 4:13 PM
Anderson Cooper Stands Up For Kim Kardashian (VIDEO)
First Posted: 06/29/11 -- 11:07 AM ET | Updated: 06/29/11 -- 01:36 PM ET
Anderson Cooper hasn't been himself lately.
"For a while now I've had this unsettling feeling... Like the universe was slightly out of whack," the CNN host of "AC 360" announced on Wednesday night's episode [actually, it was the Tuesday night's episode]. "I couldn't pin-point the source of the feeling, but then it hit me: no one has really been saying much about Kim Kardashian's butt lately."
Perhaps this was realized after Sunday night's episode of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians," in which Kim stumbled upon an internet rumor stating that her "left butt-cheek exploded on a plane." She grows frustrated with the continual influx of comments regarding her bottom, prompting sister Khloe to suggest she get an x-ray to "prove to the entire world that her butt is real."
"Unbeknownst to me, the entire world will not stop with the crack about her butt," Cooper said. "It's voracity, so to speak."
Cooper admits to initially being skeptical of the x-ray logic.
"Will an x-ray really help us get to the bottom of this world crisis?" He asked. "I'm thinking that we need some kind of control group."
"Luckily, the other one, being the Marie Curie of our times, has it covered," he said, referring to sister Kourtney's suggestion that they take an x-ray of her silicon breast implant to use as a comparison.
"I am so glad I did this x-ray!" Kim exclaimed upon receiving the veritable verdict that her butt is real.
But not as glad as Cooper, it seems: "I think I speak for the whole world when I say we are so glad too, Kim. We are so glad too."
Posted by Peter at 3:31 PM
‘Anderson' to Show Lighter Side of CNN Host
Cooper will continue to travel, tape three days a week to balance schedule
By Andrea Morabito -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/29/2011 -- 2:07:36 PM
New York -- Now that Anderson Cooper is launching a syndicated daytime talk show, he can finally reveal how much he likes the Real Housewives franchise.
"It's nice to do something that shows you as a fully-rounded person," he told the audience at the PromaxBDA conference Wednesday of his upcomingAnderson, which premieres Sept. 12. "I think people know you can be incredibly passionate about what's happening in Syria and you can have guilty pleasures."
Cooper will continue on his nightly CNN news program, AC 360, which means Anderson will shoot two shows a day, three days a week to allow the anchor to manage his other responsibilities. He also said he'll have a week's worth of shows pre-taped should he have to travel to cover breaking news for CNN.
"I know for a fact that I'll still be able to travel and that's important to me," he said. He also noted that if a news event was of interest to a daytime audience, that he'd bring some Anderson staff with him to cover it for the daytime show.
Cooper made a point of saying that nothing will be repurposed from one show to the other, each will have separate staffs with a separate focus. "There will be times when there will be similar things," on both shows, he said. "But the two shows are going to be very different and distinct."
For Cooper, his foray into daytime was really just an outlet to tell more human stories, exemplified by his past coverage of news eventslike Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill, but that he can't always do on a newscast if the topics aren't newsworthy.
"I realized that's what I like to do the most, it's when I feel most useful," he said of telling personal stories of relevance to people's every day lives. "In daytime, you can do that pretty much every day."
While Anderson launches this fall, a year ahead of the 2012 elections, Cooper says the show won't be doing a lot on politics, at least not until the race gets much narrower. "There are so many places where viewers who are interested in that can get that."
Posted by Peter at 2:15 PM
First Posted: 06-29-11 -- 11:55 AM | Updated: 06-29-11 -- 12:45 PM
All four top cable news networks had something to celebrate during the second quarter of the 2011 ratings season. Fox News could toast its usual dominance of the ratings, with the top 12 programs in cable news airing on its network as they always do. (Its ratings did fall slightly in both the primetime (down 6%) and total day (down 1%) categories when compared to the same period in 2010, however.) CNN could cheer its double-digit year-on-year growth in both total viewers and the coveted A25-54 demo. (Anderson Cooper's numbers surged by 43%, for example.) MSNBC could gloat over its now-solid berth as the number two cable news network, as well as its ratings stability in the wake of Keith Olbermann's exit. And HLN could throw itself a parade for the hordes of new viewers it attracted to all of its shows, thanks to its non-stop coverage of the Casey Anthony trial.
Posted by Peter at 1:00 PM
Anderson Cooper's 'truth-telling' is catching on
Jun 21, 2011
Written by David Bauder
Instead, Cooper and Moore have fashioned a program that's one part breaking news and one part "truth-telling" squad and it is building momentum.
Through early June, "Anderson Cooper 360" had an average audience of 859,000 people, or 20 percent above 2010, the Nielsen Co. said. Within the younger demographic on which CNN bases its ad sales, the increase is 46 percent. Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren has twice the audience at that time slot, but has gone down 16 percent in a year.
It's impossible to tell how much Cooper's improvement is due to a busy year in news -- the Japanese tsunami, Arab uprisings, deadly tornadoes and Osama bin Laden killing -- and how much it is because of a sharper focus provided by his "Keeping Them Honest" segments.
The show is on top of big news when it happens, and Cooper has been on the scene in Japan, Egypt and Joplin, Mo. But news producers have to work with the assumption that most people know the headlines by 10 p.m. and want something more when they tune in on a slower day, Moore said.
Cooper's use of the phrase "keeping them honest" dates back four or five years, but has been emphasized most heavily in the past year. In a politically polarized time, he said he's struck by how many public figures make claims with little evident regard for accuracy. Cooper's team tries to cut through the maze of dubious reports in the same way news organizations deconstruct claims made in political advertising.
The task is simple but important at a time when Fox and MSNBC offer so many commentators with clear political points of view, he said.
"I'm not an opinion person," Cooper said. "I'm not interested in being a conservative anchor or a liberal anchor, a Republican anchor or a Democratic anchor. I'm much more interested in trying to look at things at multiple angles and trying to walk in other people's shoes and understand things from a different vantage point."
Producers who think it's enlightening to put two people with opposing viewpoints together and let sparks fly frustrate him.
Last November, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota claimed on Cooper's show that President Obama's trip to Asia would cost taxpayers $200 million a day. Cooper picked apart the bogus story the next night, finding it originated from one anonymous person quoted on an Indian news service. The New York Times' Thomas Friedman said Cooper "did the country a favor."
Another key moment for Cooper was when U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas claimed terrorists were sending women to the United States to have babies that are U.S. citizens who would leave the country and come back decades later to sow destruction. Cooper said he couldn't find anyone in the FBI aware of this, and asked Gohmert to outline what he knew.
"You're attacking the messenger," an angry Gohmert said. "Anderson, you're better than this. You used to be good."
Replied Cooper: "I've offered you the opportunity to present some form of evidence and you've presented nothing."
Over several months the show spent considerable time on the birther issue, bringing forth a series of state lawmakers seizing on doubts about President Barack Obama's birth certificate. Since nothing Cooper said seemed to satisfy the doubters, it eventually bordered on tiresome television. That also highlighted an occasional weakness of the feature: picking on easy targets.
Cooper said he believed the birthers he featured were public officeholders and needed to be held accountable for what they said.
"Some viewers say, 'Why are we giving these people a platform?' And look, there are some people I won't give a platform to," Cooper said. "I won't have neo-Nazis on the show and debate them on whether or not what they say is factually correct. That's ridiculous. ... But these (Obama birth doubters) aren't just random people."
Cooper said the show is careful in how it picks topics not to consistently pick on one party or ideology. He went hard after a Florida Democratic candidate for unfairly trying to tie an opponent to the Taliban.
Paul Levinson, head of the journalism department at Fordham University, said Cooper is "clearly the best that CNN has. He's as passionate as a Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann or Sean Hannity, but doesn't look for wrongs on only one side of the political spectrum," he said.
"I like the fact that he doesn't take guff from his interviewees," Levinson said. "He doesn't just accept the usual nonanswers that people like to give."
Cooper reported extensively on the Rep. Anthony Weiner's Twitter scandal, with a "Keeping Them Honest" segment showing how the congressman aggressively lied about his conduct. The show initially ignored the story about Sarah Palin's confusing comments about Paul Revere until she continued to defend herself, then brought on a historian to debunk her interpretation of Revere's rides.
There are often similarities between what Cooper and Comedy Central's Jon Stewart do, in their use of extensive research on public officials to point out hypocrisies and lies. Both took after Palin on Revere, for example, although Stewart went for laughs after showing Palin's words. Cooper's story about how often Palin complained she was tripped up by "gotcha" questions could easily have been a topic for "The Daily Show."
Most people want to stay informed and be given correct information about what is going on in the world, Cooper said.
"It just surprises me when we meet people who are misinformed and don't seem to be willing to alter their viewpoint," he said.
Surprising, maybe. And good for Cooper's business.
Posted by Peter at 12:06 PM
Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss are not only the biggest "geniuses" on the RidicuList, they are also the biggest hunks, the cutest hunks, the billionaire hunks, the hunks hunks... you name it hunks. Even their name, Winklevoss, is erotic, I mean exotic. (Sigh) I want to be in the RidicuList too...
June 29th, 2011
12:14 AM ET
Editor's note: For fighting the good fight over Facebook, Anderson Cooper adds the Winklevoss twins to AC360's RidicuList.
Posted by Peter at 11:45 AM