Anderson Cooper: It’s news to him
The versatile CNN anchor-reporter says there aren’t enough hours in the day to cover every story he’d like to go out on.
By Choire Sicha
December 28, 2008
In addition to his duties hosting » Anderson Cooper 360°» on CNN from 10 p.m. to midnight, Cooper reports for » 60 Minutes.» He is also CNN’s Mr. New Year’s Eve.
What’s life like after the election?
I think it’s maybe different for viewers, but it’s not that different for us. It’s kind of the same level of intensity. And with the economic collapse, that’s something that’s taken up a lot of our attention post-election.
You don’t have to wrangle as many crowds.
I liked the wrangling. I miss our nightly meetings with 20 different analysts. I was joking with some of them that I feel like we should convene panels in my home on the weekends and go over polls that don’t exist.
This year we saw the rise of Rachel Maddow and Campbell Brown — very opinionated. You haven’t succumbed too much. Do you have plans to?
I have no plans to, no. I think those people are really good at what they do. Rachel Maddow is an incredible talent — she’s funny, and smart, obviously well researched on subjects. I’m just not interested as a viewer in listening to anchors’ opinions. It seems like there’s an awful lot of yelling, and this year yelling’s been replaced by sarcasm and snark- iness.
How do you like your slot?
My time slot? I’ve never really thought much about it, honestly.
But often it seems as if you end up with news that’s not really breaking. You end up with day-end stuff, and I feel that it doesn’t necessarily serve you.
When there’s breaking news we try to have it be something that’s occurred within the last two, three hours. If you notice on a lot of other networks, they have something called «breaking today.» Which, to me, I think that’s called news? I don’t quite understand how people get away with «breaking today,» but that’s become a mainstay of MSNBC and others. Can I say something off the record?
Yeah, sure! [Two minutes later.] But you don’t have a Twitter feed yet.
I think I do have a Twitter feed! I’m not as Twitter-friendly as [CNN anchor/correspondent] Rick Sanchez. He seems to be tweeting and twittering. I’m hoping he’ll give me a lesson on it someday.
And your blog goes un-updated because you have a job.
Frankly, I’ve not blogged as much this past couple of months. But there are days when you have time, there’s days when you don’t. The biggest mistake you can possibly make is having someone write something as if it’s you, and we would never do that. There are some of these things I read elsewhere and I’m like really, huh, OK.
Oh, that is Puff Daddy, don’t worry, it’s not an impersonator.
Is he Puff Daddy still? I think you’re in early 2006.
Why don’t you quit your job and start a website?
I’m not that computer-savvy. And, uh, I dunno! I like the immediacy of television. I like going to a frontline, I like going to a story. I like the immediacy and impact of it. There’s a real global impact with CNN.
You do have mass distribution, which is nice. Fair enough.
It’s not really about mass distribution. It’s more about just telling stories that affect people’s lives. . . . There’s a lot of opportunities at CNN that if I had a little website somewhere I don’t think I could take part in.
Arianna and Tina would tell you different.
I don’t have the energy of Arianna Huffington or Tina Brown.
No one does, they’re psychotic. What’s the most under-covered story of ’08?
I think the war in Afghanistan. It’s very difficult, very dangerous, costs a lot of money to cover it. For myself, I’ve been planning trips to Afghanistan this past year, and each time it’s gotten canceled or postponed because of the election.
It’ll still be going on.
I also am obsessed with the situation in the Eastern Congo. Not many people are. It’s the deadliest conflict since World War II. It’s up to 5 1/2 or 6 million people who’ve died in the last 10 years. And virtually no one has covered it. . . . The mass rapes in the Congo. . . . I just can’t help but believe that if that people knew about it there’d be a huge uproar. Tens of thousands of women have been raped, and the majority of them have been gang-raped.
That’s why I’m saying, quit your job. You can do all that — and no election.
There’s plenty of blogs that write about Eastern Congo, and how many of them have you actually read? You’re citing Arianna Huffington and Tina Brown — both have huge money behind them and a staff of great writers and they’re both incredibly talented people. But I actually like going to stories.