Just finished up a Q & A with Tom O’Keefe of bostontweet fame. It was a cool session. Tom answered a bunch of questions from me and other students about his work experience and different ventures. One thing, though, totally unrelated to the general conversation, caught my interest. Tom mentioned that he likes Anderson Cooper a lot, to the point of sometimes watching Cooper’s show and then the rerun of it.
This sort of thing absolutely fascinates me, because it speaks to a manner of consuming media that’s so different from my own. I reacted the same way to Tom saying this as I did when my roommate the other day mentioned that he likes Chuck Todd: WHY? For my part, there’s nothing “wrong” with Chuck Todd and Anderson Cooper. Certainly, on an extremely curved scale of absolute dickheadedness, they are far from the worst transgressors on TV. But they’re part of the Village. Both of them are, like just about any person that covers the “news” on TV for a living. They all make absurd amounts of money and make their livelihood from an inherently stupid, awful product.
I analyze people on the TV, radio and blogosphere depending on the information they give me. I don’t give a shit about their personality. Well, that’s not entirely true, because people who have a great snarky voice, such as Charley Pierce or Matt Taibbi are a hoot to read, but what ultimately matters is the information and the worldview. Anderson Cooper may be “center-left” by
corporate mainstream media standards, but he’s afflicted by the same problems as anyone in the current “news” biz. Pretending that both of the parties have something to offer, that there are two sides to each issue, that you shouldn’t stop an interview (regardless of how this affects commercial time) and slap anyone who claims that tax cuts raise revenues or that raising the highest marginal tax rate by less than 4% constitutes class warfare, that “leaving it there” when two people present diametrically opposed views is OK, all of that shit. Now, that’s not unique to Anderson Cooper. Far from it. That stuff is endemic to all the cable and network TV channels, which is my entire point. All of the channels do this, doing more damage every day to what remains of the public discourse in this country. So none of them are worthy of respect. Who gives a shit whether Anderson Cooper or Chuck Todd seems like a nice guy?