Sunday, March 20, 2011

Anderson Cooper: War Reporter

Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst posted an article on CNN today titled, Why Libya 2011 is not Iraq 2003 It's an interesting read and got me thinking about Anderson's coverage of "Operation Iraqi Freedom"

I'm starting out with a couple of short video clips ~

"In some places, in some stories, you feel privileged to be there. Without our cameras, people abandoned, let down by their government, would suffer in silence; no one knowing of their plight."

"I started going to wars by myself, in hopes of becoming a reporter."

From a June 20th, 2004 interview with USA Today, when asked about an upcoming trip to Baghdad ~

"Certainly I have some trepidation. Anyone who says they don't is either a fool or a liar, or maybe both," he says. "I tend not to worry about things that are beyond my control. We have security people on the ground, and I have confidence in them. "Ultimately, what I am most worried about is trying to find good stories and tell them in a way that is interesting and compelling. That keeps me up at night the most."

From Dispatches From The Edge, A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival, by Anderson Cooper ~

After ten hours, the patrol ended. The soldiers cleared their weapons as they pulled into their heavily fortified base. They'd grab a few hours of sleep and do it all again the next day. I went back to the CNN office in the Palestine Hotel feeling as if the day had been a waste. The patrol had been uneventful. When I stepped inside, phones were ringing, producers were yelling into satellite phones trying to confirm information. There had been multiple coordinated attacks against Iraqi police stations in several cities. Dozens were dead. The headlines that night on American TV and in the newspapers the following day would be IRAQ EXPLODES.

At first I was pissed off that I had missed it, stuck on a patrol that had gone nowhere. Then I realized that there was a lesson to be learned about what gets covered, what we see about Iraq at home. Not all of Iraq had exploded that day, at least not the part of Baghdad I was in. The headline could just as easily have been "200 Gallons of Water Delivered to Neighborhood Near Baghdad Airport." It would have been just as accurate, though arguably not as important. Perhaps the soldier I spoke to earlier was right: sometimes Iraq is not like what you see on TV.

A Reporter's Notebook Anderson filed while in Baghdad to cover the elections ~

And from AC360 January 25, 2005 ~

Tonight, taking focus to the Nth Degree. It's certainly not a good feeling to be frightened most of the time as anyone here in Baghdad or too many places around the world can tell you. But fear does have one remarkable side effect. It causes the most amazing sharpening of the senses.

When a bomb may go off at any moment or a shot ring out, or a car screech up, when something may fall out of the sky or off a roof or a shout may make you spin in your tracks, when you literally don't know because you can't know what may happen next, you find yourself becoming very alert indeed. Very keen, most astonishingly alive to every movement and shape and sound. You cock your head. You really listen, you really look around, over and below things. Sometimes you almost look through things.

And yet you're always ready, the way a sparrow might be or a deer instantly to be gone. Being in a place like Baghdad gives you a pretty good understanding of the way things work in the animal kingdom. The way things work between predator and prey.


From the Anderson Cooper 360 Facebook page ~

On March 14, 2011 in Shichigahama, Japan, Anderson inspects the damage caused by a massive tsunami after a 9.0 earthquake.

A few photos surfaced from Anderson's speaking engagement last month at the Naples Town Hall. From Naples Florida Weekly ~
1,000 hear Anderson Cooper at Naples Town Hall

Mayor Bill Barnett and Anderson Cooper

Edison State College Collier Campus students with Anderson Cooper

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ACAnderFan said...

Great post. I am really liking the retrospective posts. Especially like the brief clip from his Channel One days, his reporting style really hasn't changed much since then.

I like the passage from "Dispatches". It says a lot because typically all you see on TV is the explosions, not the day to day things the soldiers are doing.

Anonymous said...

Jack Gray twittered that he went to the GLAAD awards on Saturday night. Is there any indication that Anderson himself went?

ACAnderFan said...

@anonymous 1:07pm I doubt Anderson went to the GLADD awards as he just returned home from Japan on saturday.