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Should TV Reporters Play the Fool?

September 11, 2011
by

It seems Anderson Cooper can’t get enough of Snooki’s charm. Following up the clip shown in class of Anderson Cooper’s tongue-in-cheek critique of Snooki as news anchor, I’m suggesting you read online today’s New York Times article about Cooper’s foray into “lighter” news via daytime TV. It begins: “This year, Anderson Cooper spent 10 days in Japan covering the aftermath of the devastating earthquake; he spent nine days in Egypt and was roughed up by supporters of Hosni Mubarak during the uprising there. This week, he will spend an hour talking to Snooki about her tan.” The article, by TV industry reporter Bill Carter, only briefly and superficially raises the issue of “a risk for Mr. Cooper’s news reputation in diverting himself into the more superficial fields of daytime talk.” Several years ago, I raised the question of whether so-called TV journalists were right to interview Sacha Baron Cohen in character as Borat. I’ve distilled that long academic paper into a 2,000-word essay that shouldn’t be too painful for you to read in the ANGEL “Lessons” folder. Without giving Snooki and her ilk too much attention — the Times itself had a second article, the lead in its Travel section Sunday, that mentioned her in a headline — let’s spend some time in class this week discussing the broader issue of the credibility of news when TV journalists play the fool.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Melissa Wolfe permalink
    September 12, 2011 5:31 pm

    I don’t think that Anderson Copper having a daytime talk show is going to interfere with his credibility. I think that he is a very likeable person and a good reporter who will simply be reaching a new audience. I would watch Anderson Cooper for my entertainment news as well as the more factual and serious information. After all, what’s wrong with him showing a little diversity?

  2. September 12, 2011 6:43 pm

    I think Anderson Cooper is trying to reach out to a different crowd, specifically the people who watch Jersey Shore, with all this Snooki crap. I personally don’t care if he does it but it feels like it’s more of an annoyance than it is news broadcasting and I don’t think he’ll earn any points with his already established viewers. I don’t watch Anderson so I don’t know what his show is like or what he is like but from the bits and pieces I’ve seen of him, this doesn’t seem like something he’d waste his time on, and after all she really is a waste of time. Alll in all I think this is a stunt to attempt to increase potentially younger viewers and generally broaden his viewing demographic.

  3. September 12, 2011 6:51 pm

    I believe that the news is no place for the Snooki’s, Kardashians, and Brangelina’s of the world, unless the ‘scoop’ is the prolific deterioration of a great nation or the unprecedented devastation being wrought on its culture. People caring about something does not qualify it as news. People may indeed be genuinely enslaved to the cultural phenomena of idolization that so empowers the drunken deviants and privileged socialites of tabloid fame (perhaps as the manifestation of a fundamental psychological compulsion), but just because they want to see it does not mean they should, and it certainly does not mean it should be presented through any medium that touts the title ‘journalism’.
    What happens to Snooki is of consequence only to Snooki, Snooki’s agent, Snooki’s lawyers, and Snooki’s family and friends. Contrarily, when the world takes notice or, in this case, takes waaay too much notice of something that does not by any stretch of the imagination concern them or anyone else, the world suffers.
    Our pop-culture baphomets distract us from the pains and torments of our day to day life in a seemingly harmless way. However, every second of airtime and every page of print wasted on the objects of our ‘harmless’ infatuations is a lost opportunity to bring the injustices of our world to light. How much will go unnoticed with our attention diverted?
    There’s no doubt that distractions from the harsh reality that is life are a necessity to our sanity. After all, all work and no play makes Jack freak the fuck out. However, such frivolous activities as star-gazing do not, and never will, hold a rightful place in the world of substantial journalism. It’s sad enough there’s a market for this crap at all; it’s devastating that any medium of journalistic integrity should plunge to this low, low bottom of the info-cesspool.

  4. Kallie Cahill permalink
    September 14, 2011 8:33 am

    I honestly don’t think that MOST people will look at Anderson Cooper differently from seeing his other personality. Nobody is 100% serious every second of the day. Everybody has somewhat of a jokingly personality and I think it’s good that he is trying to take a break from all the seriousness for a little bit. Just reading and reporting the news really isn’t even showing who anchors are as a person because they are usually just reading teleprompters so you never get to see who each anchor is. When Anderson Cooper goes on his lighthearted show, it portrays him as himself in a different lights. Personally, I don’t watch Anderson Cooper at all so I wouldn’t change the channel to his show in the first place. If I wanted to watch something comical, I would turn the TV to comedy central not to the news anchors comedy show. In general, it really doesn’t matter too much to me if a news anchor plays the fool or not as long as they compose themselves and can distinguish themselves between the two. Be funny on your comedy show and be completely serious on the news.

  5. Jamie Feyto permalink
    September 14, 2011 12:10 pm

    I believe the talk show will not hurt Cooper’s credibility at all. In fact i believe it might help out. I feel like most of the journalist on TV all seem to blend together because they all seem very emotionless and monotone when they report their news. Now with Cooper having his own show I believe that the next time I see him reporting news I might pay a little bit more attention because I recognize him for more than just a boring reporter.

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