Anderson Cooper, in the span of just a couple of days and on both of his programs – CNN’s AC360 and his daytime talk show – drew the ire of everyone from officials at the State Department to fans of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. If you’ve followed both or either of these stories, you’ve seen someone who considers himself a journalist become someone who is only interested in getting a lot of attention, even if it means becoming a part of the story.
Earlier this week, CNN and Cooper became embroiled in a battle with the US State Department over a journal belonging to Ambassador Stevens who was killed on September 11th in Benghazi. It seems that a reporter from CNN, Arwa Damon, stumbled across the journal while she was wandering around the remains of the personal quarters of the embassy. She decided to take possession of it and, with the blessing of CNN, Anderson Cooper began reporting the information contained in the journal. The discovery of the journal, along with the way it was subsequently handled, revealed that a lot of people made a lot of mistakes. It isn’t only the fact that the reporter took the journal from what should be considered a crime scene – that’s just a tip of the iceberg. Any reporter who takes something away from the site of four murders calls journalistic integrity into question, and would mean, for any other situation, that the reporter could have been charged with tampering with evidence.
What makes this incident even stranger is the fact that no one had bothered to handle the embassy as a crime scene. No one had sealed off the grounds of the compound and, apparently, no one had even posted security of any kind to ensure that the site didn’t become some gruesome tourist attraction, open to anyone who wanted to take their own souvenirs from the building and its’ surrounds. In fact, as of this morning, some 16 days after the attack, the FBI hasn’t even made it into Benghazi. Secretary Clinton has stated that they’ve made it to Tripoli and are running into problems actually getting to the embassy. That could be, or it could also mean that she’s just not telling anyone where the agents are. Either way, it’s a very long time after an incident of these proportions to start and investigation.
In the meantime, CNN held onto the journal, taking it upon themselves to determine whether it was a private diary or a public document. I don’t think that it was their call or any of their business. Brain Williams didn’t go to Aurora, Colorado and enter a shooter’s apartment, poking around for explosive devices. Not only would he have been, more than likely, blown to hell, but it isn’t his job. Crime scenes, and everything they contain, are the business of trained investigators, not reporters.
CNN, Cooper and the State Department turned the matter into a very ugly cage fight. The State Department called the network “disgusting” and that the actions of their correspondent were “indefensible”. CNN, through Cooper, did try to defend their reporter and their reporting. They claimed that they has a duty to report what they had found under the premise that it was a matter of national security, about which the public had a right to know. The State Department countered that whatever CNN had or used should have been done with the permission of the ambassador’s family – that it was their property and their call. While I understand that the Stevens’ family is suffering, I think that this was a flimsy excuse by US officials, meant only to garner sympathy from the viewing public. Families of murder victims don’t get any evidence from the scene of the crime until those investigating it determine that it isn’t of any value to the investigation.
So, for all of the name-calling and righteous indignation on the parts of everyone in this debate, no one did what they were supposed to do. CNN, Ms. Damon and Anderson Cooper acted very unprofessionally. Damon should have turned that journal over if she feared that it would go missing, absent any security at the embassy. The State Department and the FBI fell down on the job by allowing over two weeks to pass without any real and purposeful movement on this horrendous crime. Everyone one of them owes the Stevens family, and the families of the three other embassy workers, an apology, at the very least.
On a much less important issue, Anderson Cooper created another brouhaha over an appearance by Teresa Giudice on his daytime talk show. Cooper, it seems, took the opportunity to give the New Jersey Housewife a verbal smackdown. He chastised and mocked her about some things she had said to Caroline Manzo regarding her weight. She used the term “blubber” when she was referring to Manzo’s figure during the HW’s reunion. He also reprimanded her for not contacting Jacqueline Laurita about her son’s diagnosis of autism. Teresa responded that Cooper didn’t know what they had said about her. I agree that the best argument isn’t “well, she said bad things, too”. Any parent knows that the answer to that is “well, if all of your friend decided to jump off of a bridge, would you do it, too?” Anderson did say something to that effect, asking her if she was a 12-year-old.
This set off a firestorm on Twitter, with pro and anti-Teresa folks voicing their very disparate opinions about the interview. Cooper took some real heat for it, where people called his integrity and impartiality into question. Obviously, he enjoyed every minute of it – the interview as well as the over the top reaction. He decided to have Teresa come back on his show today – you know, to make things look all fair and honest, because that’s what a professional journalist would do. I’ve posted the link to AC’s videos. I’m at the mercy of his website, because his talk show isn’t available in my area. I’ll rely on you to let me know how things go today between the two.
This is a little off topic, but it was another day Jacqueline spent on Twitter. She wanted to know if people on Twitter thought that Teresa was threatening her. Her evidence came in the form of screen shots of her own tweets and the whole thing was a little unsettling. Jacq must be advising Aviva on how to behave on Twitter. She’s still fighting with Ramona and viewers, as well as making claims that she was simply bringing the drama because the show was boring. All of the Housewives are now actresses, apparently. Does this mean that her phobias are scripted, too? Anyway, this was my favorite, which came in the middle of a heated exchange. Vassar would be proud.
@AvivaDrescher @xxxxx @xxxxx @xxxxx @xxxxxx @ LOL. U guys r great. I know I know- reality smegma deserve 2 b lynched! Lol
In honor LOL of Chicklets…. HAPPY TURDSDAY ……
I dont watch daytime tv talk shows..never have..never will…I have better things to do with my time… and bravo can pound sand….. over all the hype and fabricated BS spewing from ALL these characters……. Life is TOO SHORT for all the crap they are pulling……. and like I asked before…whats the end game ??????
Hey, dd. They do spend a ridiculous amount of time on nothing. The end game? Who knows, but it can’t be good.
BTW, did you get that bit of news about the actor from SAMCRO? Weird.
“reality smegma” ?????? Who TALKS like that? Glad I’m not encouraging mini-Me to apply to Vassar, I’d have to perform a ‘vocabulary readjustment’ each time I saw her afterwards…:)
“Who TALKS like that?” I don’t know, Wrecksie – Aviva is the one with the language degree. She sure can turn a phrase. 😀
Anderson Cooper – 180.
Empress, if I might interject? It is my understanding Ambassador Steven’s personal journal was found by the reporter after a police search had been made and they’d left The contents revealed information that Ambassador Stevens was concerned for his safety from threats of terrorists and that the siege on the Embassy made not have, in fact, been a result of protesters inflamed over the video. I’m not certain if this is true as I have read only one source of news about it, but according to NPR, Anderson’s news report was enough to change the State Dept’s official statement regarding what, in fact, may have happened.
In a case where there is news concerning the event, I believe we want our reporters to investigate and not rely only on Washington’s version of events for then, news media is subverted into little more then mediocre PR for the State. The family concerns could easily have focused guarding from public view whatever personal details of Stevens life and thoughts might be detailed. However, concerning events leading up to his murder, I would think the family and we as a nation would want and deserve to know the truth. I leave you the link to the report I heard.
disgrazia, Interject anytime. I read the transcripts of the NPR interview which was included in another article – one with some background information. It does mention that the scene had been abandoned by the time Damon arrived. I may be missing it, but I didn’t read where there had been a search by police. There was a report that the Libyans were supposed to have secured the compound, although no one seems to know if that actually happened.
I agree that we have the right to know if our government is being less than forthcoming about the circumstances leading up to the attack. If the State Dept and the FBI are not telling us what happened, Ms. Damon may very well turn out to be a hero. National Security isn’t just the government’s concern. I think since 9/11, it’s become a concern all of us.
This is the link I used. It includes your info along with the article I mentioned.
A snippet from the NPR “All Things Considered” broadcast:
MARK WHITAKER: It was three days after the attack, and Arwa Damon, our reporter on the ground, went into the mission where the attack took place.
FOLKENFLIK: That’s the top news executive for CNN Worldwide, Mark Whitaker. He said Damon came across Stevens’ private journal as she walked through the abandoned consulate.
WHITAKER: By that point, it had been largely evacuated, at least by U.S. personnel, and a number of reporters went around. And the local owner of the house, who had let it out through the U.S. government, was there and accompanied her.
I’m going to correct myself. We should have been informed and concerned well before 9/11.
With all the major news media owned by mega corporations, being informed has become increasingly difficult. There’s barely any investigative journalism on the news any more and it seems as if politicians and the Gov feel more confident in just saying no to questions or offering the excuse of ‘pending investigations’. Just as protesters are penned into ‘free speech zones’, I find it just as disconcerting when I see reporters penned into reporters areas.
ITA. The days of Woodward and Bernstein following a story, at great risk to themselves, seem to have passed. The MSM gets the same stories off the wires and then puts their own “spin” on them. My favorite great-granny, our dear Donna, has put me onto her FB newsfeed. It takes about five sources before you find anything that even resembles “truthiness”.
Yes, the truthiness of the matter is a difficult nugget to get at, LOL.【ツ】
LOL you know how I love to dig through stories to try to come up with some semblance of truth, when I feel that something big is coming out I go to twitter and share on FB. Right now I have a major uneasiness of the war drums are banging once again and the corporations are going to drag us into another war.
Donna, were you just eavesdropping at The Farm? My husband said almost the very same thing over dinner – uneasiness. 😐
my gut has been telling me this for a few weeks now. glad to learn not alone
I used to like Anderson Cooper, but no longer. His lack of professionalism and bias make him a very poor interviewer & reporter. Perhaps the last straw for me was watching his “interview” with Teresa Giudice. Why did he take her to task for anything? The gang of 4 is just as guilty of bullying as Teresa – and no I am not a fan, just a viewer. Why be so judgmental, and he admitted he doesn’t even watch the show anymore?? Ahhh but he does have a bff, Bravo’s Andy Cohen, who detests Teresa.
There are better news shows to watch than Anderson 360, and thank God I never did watch his “talk show.” Only today, to see how he would treat Teresa the second time around. It’s clear that Anderson’s producers reacted to the backlash against Anderson from yesterday, and so had Teresa on today for damage control. I guess Andy & Anderson are horrified at the power Teresa’s fans wield!
This is why I get my news via Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. If you can’t beat ’em, laugh at ’em.
Me Too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They tell the truth at everyone’s expense! But they only clarify the major news media’s muddled stories.
This isn’t the first time Wacko Jacko showed private texts. http://t.co/ReAi8nuQ notice, once again, they were fighting and Jacko was “trying to help” Of all things…lol u gotta see for ur self. These showed up every where last yr. Jac is “very smart” according to herself, she wanted everyone to see. I wouldn’t trust her to keep a Surprise B-day party a secret. Smh!
Like ur posts Aiken, especially the one on A-Diva lol. Oh stoopidhousewives has a post about A-Viva Diva lying about modeling. Lol, she says she never did, but in reality her and her Dad went from pimp to elite modeling agencies lol. Just so happens as she tweets she didn’t, she gave a verbal interview last year saying she did lol
My phone is dying, it was posted yesterday or today. She posts like 5 posts a day.
Thanks lps, I’ll take a look at the links. The Twitter nonsense just leaves me SMH.
Everyone is just out to make a buck – regardless of what they ignore or who they hurt. All the media/journalists are “in the bag” for some elephant or jackass.
There was a bumper sticker that used to be popular “Turn off Your TV”.
Maybe I should.
There are too many sources for getting the “news” and in that there is confusion as what is true and what may be fabrication. Anderson Cooper has sacrificed his integrity and credibility at the altar of today’s packaged journalism. He violated Ambassor Stevens’ humanity and at the end of the day I still don’t know what the ultimate goal was in doing so the very public journalistic arena .
As for his talk show – a different animal completely. His two days of Guidice may have been a set up by his good pal Andy Cohen to garner more attention for his network and hit show. The first show was based on one clip of Teresa’s rude behavior and Anderson’s lecture to her without the background was rude and seemed out of place for him. The second show was a dialog and his apology to her seemed sincere. He allowed her to respond to questions without interruption and it was clear that the hurt the show has caused her family was real.
Do I care about Teresa’s saga? Sort of. Do I care what the reprecussions of the perloined diary will be? Very much so!
wcw, I had to take a while to think about what you’d written. We, that is the viewers, understand the difference between a journalist and a talk show host. I guess my question now would be, does AC get that? If he had Teresa on his daytime show simply to promote Bravo and garner ratings, what’s to say that the reporting of the Ambassador’s journal wasn’t serving the same purpose? Every news source wants to be “first”, and sometimes they get the story very wrong. That may very well be the case here and, as you said, “the ultimate goal”. I really don’t know – anyone’s guess is as good as mine.
CNN is no different than any of the other MSM outlets. Wolf Blitzer looked like a fool tripping over himself to report, erroneously, the SCOTUS decision on the Health Care Act. Fareed Zakaria is given his time slot back, right after admitting that he’d plagiarized parts of a Time magazine article. Now there’s AC, smack dab in the middle of the journal controversy.
There is no way that I would trivialize what happened in Benghazi by comparing it to the nonsense of a HWs program. I think that I’ve drawn a distinction in other posts between what I think are important issues and what is simply fodder for snark.
I hope that this made some sense, and I thank you for giving me some food for thought this weekend.
Ambassador Stevens and Theresa Guidice in the same breath sort of sounds like an oxymoron… because it is, lol. Only common denominator is that both stories are tragic. Stevens for obvious reasons and Guidice because…. well, you know. 🙂 Great blog, Empress.