2/21/11 I had the opportunity to watch Anderson Cooper interview Libya’s Ali Suleiman Aujali tonight. I saw Anderson knot his brow with concern during the interview while trying to get the diplomat to abandon his country. Being a diplomat is not an easy job it is more a craft requiring special skills
During this interview I was reminded of Colin Powell (then Secretary of State) arguing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction Gen. Powell argued forcefully for a position of which he was not entirely convinced.
A diplomat is a representative of his country of a typically considered temperament. We may suspect that Aujali may have benefited from his association. He probably has a nice house and advantages for his family, but he is a messenger, not a line officer.
Anderson would have been pleased if Aujali had abandoned his country during a time of flux, if he had jumped ship. That’s not what a diplomat does. A diplomat must be, well, diplomatic under all circumstances – a professional in his craft.
We know Anderson is not a reporter in the classic sense. He has seen Cronkite, and Murrow on film but in their shadow he appears to be a 14-yo crying “Me! Me!” Reflective and dispassionate he is not. But then the news is not what it was, but even Koppel had gravitas. The news became confused with entertainment. It needed to be transformed into a profit center instead of a loss leader.
The conflict between news and entertainment, between analysis and advocacy, are important in journalism but Anderson Cooper is a fox in the cnn house. If you want to get a handle on the issues in journalism past and present check out the Committee of Concerned Journalists for more. – carlos