The wages of greed include ignorance: Anderson Cooper already had a rather important job.
He was host of an hour-long evening program on a cable “news” channel. His CNN program airs at 8 PM, then again at 10 PM, Monday through Friday nights.
No, his ratings aren’t very good, but it isn’t like nobody watches (click here). Last Thursday, 496,000 people watched his show at 8 PM. At 10 PM, 732,000 people watched.
That's a very important job. It’s hard to be well-informed in this world. You’d think people like Cooper would use their daytime hours making sure they were well-informed for the jobs they do at night.
Not Cooper! Recently, Cooper said this to the New York Times: “I am personally happiest when I do multiple things, and I think people understand that we all have multiple interests." And so, to make himself personally happiest—and to stuff a big load of cash in his pants—Cooper started a daytime show! On that daytime tabloid show, he wastes his time and rots our brains discussing the joys of plush toilet paper as opposed to the scratchier stuff. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/16/11.
He also creates a situation where he goes on the air at 8 PM clueless and uninformed. Even more so than in the past!
Last Friday evening, Cooper burned the first half of his show with more talk about Penn State. Five minutes in, he said the following to an interview guest. His ignorance seemed completely genuine. No, this doesn’t actually matter—except that it actually does:
COOPER (11/17/11): The news today that Paterno has lung cancer, was this information out there under the radar, or is this in fact new information?Cooper is paid millions of dollars per year. Last Friday night, he chose to spend his first half hour discussing Penn State. By 8 PM, every news org on the face of the earth had reported the source of that medical report. Everyone watching his program already knew. But Cooper himself had to ask!
GANIM: Well, specifically lung cancer, yes, that's new information. I think it's surprising to a lot of students on campus. However, Joe Paterno is 84 years old. He's been the subject of speculation and health rumors for a long time because of his age and because last season he had kind of an intestinal kind of illness and he also had some bumps with players during practice that left him with health problems. So people like to talk about Joe Paterno's health. But this is one of the first really serious allegation—it's not an allegation, but really serious assertions of a health problem.
COOPER: Where did this story surface? Was this something his family released? The university released? How did people learn of this? Do you know?
GANIM: His son released it today and really asked just that people respect his privacy. Well, because he is going to have to go through some treatment.
COOPER: OK. Sara Ganim, appreciate it. Thanks.
In fairness, he was just talking about silly shit. But he was unprepared.
As noted, Cooper burned up half his show with the sexy-time Penn State excitement. In the second half of his show, he discussed the sexy-time death of Natalie Wood; he also discussed the court’s decision in that crucial sweat lodge incident. In other words, Cooper is a tabloid clown even during the evening. But what a shock! Perhaps because of his daytime job, he was pretty much unprepared to discuss the Penn State matter.
The medical report about Paterno didn’t matter that much. But soon, Cooper was talking with Jeffrey Toobin about what it says in the grand jury report, and this is the kind of stuff that could still get people killed. Despite this, he and Toobin made misstatements about what that report says.
Like several other cable hosts, Cooper isn’t the brightest bulb to begin with. But when they spend their daytime hours failing to prepare, we’d have to say it shows.
Many millionaire cable stars moonlight during the daylight hours. On the bright side, it’s a nice way to supplement their incomes, which are often stuck in the low seven figures. On the down side, this helps explain why these TV stars know so little when they drag themselves onto the air.