THE BLOG

Matt Drudge Meets Anderson Cooper

05/25/2011 11:45 am ET

Why is Matt Drudge highlighting a CNN.com post of a column Anderson Cooper wrote for Details magazine in August 2003?

(Got that?)

Well, primarily because Cooper compares his gray hair to ejaculation—both can be premature. Ba-dum-dum.

A better question would be, Why did CNN.com post that column in August, even though it's two years old?

(And deeply banal. Sample sentence: "On a guy, gray hair says, 'I'm mature, stable. I can be relied on.' Think George W. Bush.")

Possibly because Cooper's contract with Details stipulates a two-year time frame for republication of the material. And probably because CNN is doing everything it can to flog Cooper to the masses as the model for the new-generation anchorman.

I don't want to beat up on Cooper, whom I've written about critically before. (I wasn't a fan of his on-air crying during Hurricane Katrina.) By all accounts, Cooper's an intelligent and very decent guy, and he certainly did some courageous reporting during the hurricane.

What makes me uncomfortable is the way CNN is marketing Cooper; it has everything to do with personality and nothing to do with news.

Thanks to CNN, and to Cooper himself, we know all about his famous family, his brother's suicide, his restless youth. And for hipsters, there's a nudge-nudge, wink-wink element to his sexuality. The mere fact that he writes a column for Details—about such profundities as talking about sex with your mother—shows just how much CNN wants to promote Cooper as a celebrity, rather than as a journalist. As CNN president Jonathan Klein told the Boston Globe, "You like it when someone becomes a pop-culture icon and deserves it."

What a deeply weird coment that is.

Such promotion is an act of desperation on the part of a network struggling for relevance. It's also bad for journalism. Can you imagine Ted Koppell or Peter Jennings going off—about themselves—month after month in the pages of a men's fashion magazine? Or selling a memoir for a million bucks at the age of 38?

They wouldn't. Because in the end, their job is not to talk about themselves, but to report the news.