If you read our sister blog, All Things CNN, you are aware of the brouhaha that Aaron Brown stirred up this week when he said, "“I know the difference between journalism and a slogan. ‘Keeping them honest’ is a slogan.”
The definition of 'slogan' in Webster's is: 'word or phrase used to express a characteristic position or stand or a goal to be achieved. '
'Keeping Them Honest' seems like a slogan to me too, but is there anything wrong with that? Most every network and cable channel use slogans to brand their programing. For example there's NBC current 'More Colorful', ABC's 'Still the One' and 'Watch the Best on CBS'.
The bigger issue? Was Aaron implying that Anderson is not a journalist?
Aaron and Anderson had a wonderful on air chemistry and in the time that has past since Brown was unceremoniously dumped by CNN nothing has led me to believe that he blames Cooper for his ouster. In fact he said in an interview on TVNewser in 2007, a full 2 years after leaving CNN that he didn't harbor a grudge. Here's a bit of Brian Stelter's interview:
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Cooper was paired with Brown on NewsNight. CNN president Jon Klein called the duo “fire and ice.”
“I wasn’t exactly sure how the game was going to play out, but I didn’t think it was going to play out well for me,” Brown said.
He knew he didn’t want to swap with Cooper and take the 7pm hour: “I just felt if this was going to go south, and it clearly was, I’d rather just walk away from it.”
At one point, Brown’s whole staff was moved to the 7pm hour. “I was left without a producer or a staff, and I thought okay, I get it. I think they wanted his production people to be producing whatever the new effort was.”
On November 2, Klein chose fire, and Brown walked away. NewsNight became 360, and Brown didn’t even say goodbye on the air.
“I would not quarrel with the argument that I was replaced by a younger, more handsome model,” Brown said, adding that he meant “model” in the car definition, not in the fashion definition.
Brown is rational: “It’s a business. They made a business decision. I never thought I’d stay there forever.” He added: “I’m always a little bit amazed at what people expect — that I’d be upset or angry or anything like that. I honestly was none of those things.”
And he said he doesn’t harbor any ill will toward Cooper. “I thought he did a good job” reporting from the Gulf Coast, Brown said. “It’s kind of different from the way I do business. He did terrifically well there.”
Brown pointed out that CNN “threw an incredible amount of money and marketing power” at 360, while “we got no help in that regard.”
Brown’s description of his departure from CNN always comes back to the reality of the television business.
“If you do what I do for a living long enough, you know how this stuff plays out,” he said.
He said he wishes the network nothing but good luck, adding: “I want them to do well. I really want them to do well.”
Brown freely calls himself “kind of a dinosaur, old-school anchorman,” and CNN clearly went in a different direction. For the past 20 months, Brown has been thinking about what he wants to do next.
“It’s much clearer to me what I don’t want to do than what I do want to do,” Brown said. “I certainly don’t want to anchor another cable news show.”
I have always thought CNN treated Brown shoddily and if he has hard feelings toward CNN's management I wouldn't blame him. But if those hard feelings extend to Anderson Cooper I would be deeply disappointed and more than a little surprised.
If you weren't around back in 2005 to experience CNN's Fire and Ice team here's a little retrospective.
Awkward TV moments:
Here's Anderson Cooper's tribute to Aaron that aired on the night that AC took over Brown's time slot.
I'll end tonight's post with my personal get well wishes to Aaron Brown as he recovers from heart surgery, preformed on Friday in Phoenix. ~ Phebe