The wages of greed include ignorance: Anderson Cooper already had a rather important job.
He was host of an hour-long evening program on a cable “news” channel. His CNN program airs at 8 PM, then again at 10 PM, Monday through Friday nights.
No, his ratings aren’t very good, but it isn’t like nobody watches (click here). Last Thursday, 496,000 people watched his show at 8 PM. At 10 PM, 732,000 people watched.
That's a very important job. It’s hard to be well-informed in this world. You’d think people like Cooper would use their daytime hours making sure they were well-informed for the jobs they do at night.
Not Cooper! Recently, Cooper said this to the New York Times: “I am personally happiest when I do multiple things, and I think people understand that we all have multiple interests." And so, to make himself personally happiest—and to stuff a big load of cash in his pants—Cooper started a daytime show! On that daytime tabloid show, he wastes his time and rots our brains discussing the joys of plush toilet paper as opposed to the scratchier stuff. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/16/11.
He also creates a situation where he goes on the air at 8 PM clueless and uninformed. Even more so than in the past!
Last Friday evening, Cooper burned the first half of his show with more talk about Penn State. Five minutes in, he said the following to an interview guest. His ignorance seemed completely genuine. No, this doesn’t actually matter—except that it actually does:
COOPER (11/17/11): The news today that Paterno has lung cancer, was this information out there under the radar, or is this in fact new information?Cooper is paid millions of dollars per year. Last Friday night, he chose to spend his first half hour discussing Penn State. By 8 PM, every news org on the face of the earth had reported the source of that medical report. Everyone watching his program already knew. But Cooper himself had to ask!
GANIM: Well, specifically lung cancer, yes, that's new information. I think it's surprising to a lot of students on campus. However, Joe Paterno is 84 years old. He's been the subject of speculation and health rumors for a long time because of his age and because last season he had kind of an intestinal kind of illness and he also had some bumps with players during practice that left him with health problems. So people like to talk about Joe Paterno's health. But this is one of the first really serious allegation—it's not an allegation, but really serious assertions of a health problem.
COOPER: Where did this story surface? Was this something his family released? The university released? How did people learn of this? Do you know?
GANIM: His son released it today and really asked just that people respect his privacy. Well, because he is going to have to go through some treatment.
COOPER: OK. Sara Ganim, appreciate it. Thanks.
In fairness, he was just talking about silly shit. But he was unprepared.
As noted, Cooper burned up half his show with the sexy-time Penn State excitement. In the second half of his show, he discussed the sexy-time death of Natalie Wood; he also discussed the court’s decision in that crucial sweat lodge incident. In other words, Cooper is a tabloid clown even during the evening. But what a shock! Perhaps because of his daytime job, he was pretty much unprepared to discuss the Penn State matter.
The medical report about Paterno didn’t matter that much. But soon, Cooper was talking with Jeffrey Toobin about what it says in the grand jury report, and this is the kind of stuff that could still get people killed. Despite this, he and Toobin made misstatements about what that report says.
Like several other cable hosts, Cooper isn’t the brightest bulb to begin with. But when they spend their daytime hours failing to prepare, we’d have to say it shows.
Many millionaire cable stars moonlight during the daylight hours. On the bright side, it’s a nice way to supplement their incomes, which are often stuck in the low seven figures. On the down side, this helps explain why these TV stars know so little when they drag themselves onto the air.
I've often wondered how these talking heads who have both radio and tv shows or have a show and make appearances on other shows when they're off or use their down time to write a book have time to, you know, reflect on how the news of the day fits the bigger picture.ReplyDelete
The answer is nobody can be that busy and still have time to assimilate facts.
They rely on their producers, like the guy who originally hired Herman Cain for talk radio said, to fill up their ear with the next talking point.
Is this conducive to accurately informing their viewers?
Welcome to the 21st Century media world where we are encouraged to relate to a bunch of rich jerks as if they are our neighbors putting up a shingle to earn some extra income on the weekends.ReplyDelete
Cooper is just like me! He's interested in current events and promoting his brand and maybe incubating a couple of ventures. I've read Malcom Gladwell and watched the invention show--it's only a matter of time before I get rich like Anderson.
The next step, a la Oprah, will be for him to start issuing his own branded products and magazines. He can be on every cover and can beguile us with stories about how he came up with marketing strategies while sitting on the crapper.
Btw, I think I've discovered a new rule of nature. The more money a journalist earns, the more lies he tells. About the only sources I'm able to trust are small guys on the web.
It's great news that the media is sliding into trivia. When you're too dumb to talk, it's better to babble. If they talk about something important, they screw it up and make people dumber. If they talk about nothing, maybe people will find something else to do.ReplyDelete
Not to defend Cooper, but most newscasters ask questions of other newscasters already knowing the answer. It is part of the script. Cooper was not digging for additional information but asking anything relevant or important that the reporter might not know the answer to. The problem with reporters is that because they report on lots of stuff, they think they know about lots of stuff. They don't.ReplyDelete
Cooper's trying to become the Ryan Seacrest of the noozbiz.ReplyDelete
Anonymous is right in saying that most anchor types ask questions of both reporters and guests that they know the answer to. But in this case, I don't think that's what was going on. The tell, "Do you know?"ReplyDelete