Cooper gets catty on daytime show

By The Columbia Chronicle

By Jack Reese, Copy Editor

CNN anchorman Anderson Cooper has been a little sassier since scoring his own talk show, and I’m not sure I appreciate it.

It’s expected that Cooper would reveal a more personal side of himself on his relatively new CBS show, “Anderson Live,” than he does on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” where he reports hard news. But in light of a recent mini controversy involving TV personality Star Jones, I wonder if he’s getting carried away and hurting his credibility as a professional journalist.

Cooper came out as gay in a July email to Daily Beast blogger and longtime friend Andrew Sullivan that quickly made headlines worldwide. Soon after, former “The View” co-host Jones told “Today” host Natalie Morales in reference to Cooper that “there [are] times that you generate information for ratings.” Jones’ comment would not have garnered much attention if Cooper hadn’t retaliated out of the blue earlier this month.

“The only thing that kind of annoyed me … [was] Star Jones of all people,” Cooper said, on “Anderson Live.” “I haven’t thought about Star Jones in I don’t know how long. I was unaware that she was even on TV still.” He added that she has a “penchant for wanting publicity” herself.

Cooper might very well have come out to boost ratings for his show, but that is not the issue.

While I agree Jones is a pseudo-celebrity anxious to remain in the spotlight, why was Cooper so catty? It seems immature of him to respond with so much malice when he is doing better than ever.

Cooper has a right to be a bit arrogant. If I were as prominent and successful as he is in any field, I would be more than a little cocky. But until now, he has always been known for his polite and refined demeanor on CNN. He raised eyebrows on “Anderson Live” in May when he told a guest who reportedly spent half a million dollars on plastic surgery, “I try to be really polite to all my guests, [but] I think you’re dreadful, and I honestly don’t want to talk to you anymore.” It was a nicely worded insult, but an insult nonetheless.

I suppose I just like the old, somber Cooper who tolerated even his most conservative guests on “360,” but a talk show is a very different medium. He’s now a TV personality as well as a journalist, and TV personalities are notorious for stepping on each other’s toes. But Cooper is stooping to Jones’ level, and he’s better than that. Hopefully, he can veer away from celebrity feuds, even if having a talk show is a slippery slope into that arena. Maybe he can utilize his journalistic background and raise the bar for talk shows.

As for his jab at Jones, let’s face it: Maintaining a career in any field relating to journalism—be it TV or print—is harder than ever. Jones probably isn’t making as much money now as she did on “The View.” Even at the height of her career, she didn’t have half of Cooper’s success, and she’s not even a journalist. Cooper called her out for having a penchant for publicity, but maybe she needs it. Why not just let the little people hate, Silver Fox?