WaPo Celebrates Cooper's 'Catlike Handsomeness'

Anderson Cooper debuted his new Oprah-esque afternoon talk show on Monday. The Washington Post does not see this as an occasion to wonder what this says about the hard-news brand of CNN -- which after all, just made Cooper its top 8 pm attraction. Instead, in a splashy Style section piece on Tuesday, Post TV critic Hank Stuever felt it was an occasion to honor how “Daytime Anderson” has now joined “Action Anderson” and “Adorable Anderson” in the Cooper persona.

Forget whether Anderson is just doing this gig for more fame or more money. Stuever wants the reader to focus on Cooper’s “catlike handsomeness,” and how he’s “even cuter” when he acts uncomfortable at all the attention he’s drawing. This goo-fest began:

There are many Anderson Coopers now, collect them all! There is Action Anderson, the fit 44-year-old news anchor who likes to drop everything, don a gray T-shirt and chase the big story, which delivers him unto war zones and disaster sites, where, if his CNN publicists are to be believed, he Asks Questions No One Else Will Ask.

There is also Adorable Anderson, the great-great-great-grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the rich kid with the aw-shucks humility. This more-popular Anderson will always get in the way of Action Anderson's journalistic idealism. Adorable Anderson is the one who hosts the ball-drop show with kooky Kathy Griffin every New Year's Eve and is as likely to turn up in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch with Pee-wee Herman as he is in “tornado alley.” Adorable Anderson is the one who nearly collapsed in a teary-eyed fit of giggles last month on his nightly CNN show during a pun-laced segment about Gerard Depardieu’s public-urination misadventure. The clip of that went viral, which reignited in many viewers a complicated longing for a man some call “America’s secret boyfriend.”

You can either admit this to yourself or not. It’s the undetermined sexuality, the androgyne in the Ralph Lauren black-label suit; the catlike handsomeness; the silvery white hair and piercing blue eyes. Even cuter is how he makes a show of being terribly uncomfy with all the attention.

The only words missing were "Call me."

Stuever then wrote now comes “Daytime Anderson,” who wishes to “somehow merge the best of Action Anderson...and Adorable Anderson into a superior Anderson” to fill America’s Oprah space. We'll have to wait for someone else to wonder whether Cooper is going to be spread too thin or will dilute the CNN brand.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis