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Cooper, Anderson (b. 1967)  
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While his words may have surprised some viewers, they also drew praise from commentators such as David Carr of the New York Times, who stated that "Mr. Cooper's well-shaded outrage—he stopped just this short of editorializing—elicited the kind of anger that has been mostly missing from a toothless press" in the coverage of Katrina.

Cooper's work in New Orleans earned him a 2006 Emmy Award for Outstanding Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast for his reporting on the dire situation at Charity Hospital. The same year he also won the Emmy for Outstanding Live Coverage of a Breaking News Story for his reporting from Niger.

Cooper's coverage of Hurricane Katrina also earned CNN a coveted Peabody Award for outstanding journalism. His concern with New Orleans went beyond covering the hurricane and its immediate aftermath, however. For several years, he continued to monitor the city's rebuilding and its coping with issues such as crime and corruption.

Cooper returned to Louisiana in 2010 to cover the catastrophic BP oil well explosion and subsequent gushing of oil into the Gulf. Once again, he did not shrink from pointing out the hard facts, leading Brian Stetler of the New York Times to observe that Cooper "has become one of the loudest media voices on behalf of gulf residents, reprising a role he played in the wake of Hurricane Katrina."

Cooper, despite his tenacity, told Stetler that on "many nights . . . I, and I think my guests, feel like we're shouting into a wind tunnel," but at least one guest, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, testified to the efficacy of Cooper's journalism, telling him in an interview on Cooper's program that President Obama "made me commit and I agreed that, if we have the same mess-up in the chain of command, or things not getting done, that I will give him a call at the White House before I call you, Anderson," adding, "you've been a great help here."

Stetler described Cooper as "Mister Disaster" at CNN for frequently being first on the scene and deeply involved in presenting the truth and extent of a situation—"keeping them honest" as the slogan of his show says. Cooper's prompt response to and thorough coverage of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti earned him two more Emmy Awards, in the same categories for which had had previously won, as well as the awarding of the National Order of Honour and Merit from the government of the country.

In addition to covering stories of massive and visible physical destruction, Cooper also turned his attention to less evident but no less important matters, including a three-part series in June 2011 on Anderson Cooper 360° entitled "The Sissy Boy Experiment," debunking the myth of "reparative therapy," a psychological treatment that proponents claim can turn glbtq people heterosexual.

In the series, which was honored with a GLAAD Media Award for "Outstanding TV Journalism" in 2012, Cooper highlighted the case of Kirk Murphy, who was treated as a small child and declared "cured" by George Rekers, a co-founder of the Family Research Council, but was suffering so much that he attempted suicide at the age of seventeen. Murphy would later come out as gay, but, still tormented, took his own life when he was thirty-eight.

Cooper pursued a related topic with a week of reporting in October 2011 on glbtq children and others perceived as different, culminating in a CNN special report, "Bullying: It Stops Here."

Cooper also addressed the issue of the bullying of glbtq youth by devoting an episode of his daytime talk show, Anderson, to the topic, and including an interview with the family of Jamey Rodemeyer, a fourteen-year-old who committed suicide after being tormented by schoolmates.

The talk show, which debuted in September 2011, could be seen as a somewhat curious career choice for Cooper since the content generally does not include examination of weighty issues. Cooper explained his decision to go in the new direction by telling Carr "I want to have real conversations with people and tell their stories. I am personally happiest when I do multiple things, and I think people understand that we all have multiple interests."

In July 2012 Cooper put an end to the speculation about his sexual orientation in a frank statement to Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast.

Cooper declared that he had sought "to maintain some level of privacy in [his] life" partly "for purely personal reasons" but also because of professional concerns: "Since I started as a reporter in war zones 20 years ago, I've often found myself in some very dangerous places. For my safety and the safety of those I work with, I try to blend in as much as possible, and prefer to stick to my job of telling other people's stories, and not my own."

Eventually, though, he told Sullivan, he became concerned about "the unintended consequences" of his silence: "I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something—something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true. . . . The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn't be more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud. . . . I love, and I am loved."

Cooper's announcement was met by the public with a general lack of surprise. In coming out, he joins such other noted openly gay or lesbian television news anchors and reporters as Rachel Maddow, Thomas Roberts, Don Lemon, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Jeffrey Kofman, Pete Williams, Manuel Gallegus, and Miguel Marquez. But his status as super-star journalist, coupled with his personal popularity, made his confirmation of an open secret particularly noteworthy in glbtq circles and sparked a discussion of the protocol of celebrities coming out, with some writers noting that Cooper followed the current fashion of coming out as casually as possible.

Cooper has been the partner of Benjamin Maisani since 2009. Maisani, a native of Corsica who studied Art History at Hunter College, is the co-owner of a gay bar in the East Village called Eastern Bloc. The couple is said to be considering marriage in New York, where they reside and where marriage equality has been achieved.

Linda Rapp

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arts >> Overview:  American Television, News

Although glbtq people and issues have been inadequately covered by American television news, there have recently been signs of improvement.

arts >> Overview:  American Television, Reality Shows

Reality television viewers have come increasingly to expect the appearance of gay men and lesbians on these shows because their presence helps further underscore the "reality" in Reality TV.

arts >> Overview:  American Television, Talk Shows

For glbt people, television talk shows have been both promising and problematic; they have brought glbt issues to public awareness, but until recently they have also presented glbt people as stereotypes and freaks.

literature >> Overview:  Journalism and Publishing

The gay and lesbian press is of prime importance in sustaining a frequently embattled minority and has been crucial in the development of a national mass movement for gay rights.

literature >> Overview:  Political Blogs

The explosion of political blogs has served to multiply greatly the number of voices    participating in glbtq activism and to expedite the transmission of political information to glbtq communities.

social sciences >> Overview:  Reparative Therapy

Reparative therapy is a dangerously misguided attempt, supported by homophobic religious organizations, to change a person's sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual.

literature >> Capote, Truman

Truman Capote's fiction and autobiographical works helped establish what might be called the quintessential homosexual writing style of the 1950s and 1960s.

social sciences >> Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is a watchdog group dedicated to promoting accurate representations of the glbtq community in the media.

arts >> In the Life

America's only nationally broadcast gay and lesbian newsmagazine, In the Life began in 1992 as a variety show, but has since evolved into an acclaimed public-affairs program.

arts >> Lunt, Alfred (1892-1977), and Lynn Fontanne (1887-1983)

Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne were known as the first family of the American theater, but theirs was a lavender marriage and their presentation of themselves as the ideal married couple may have been their greatest performance.

arts >> Maddow, Rachel

Political commentator Rachel Maddow became the first out lesbian to host a prime-time television news program when "The Rachel Maddow Show" premiered on MSNBC in September 2008.

arts >> Roberts, Thomas

One of only a few openly gay anchors on national television news, Thomas Roberts has emerged as a visible symbol of new opportunities for openly gay people in society generally, as well as in journalism in particular.

arts >> Robinson, Jack

Photographer Jack Robinson came to prominence as a result of the stunning fashion and celebrity photographs he shot for magazines in the 1960s, but he also created significant images that document the gay subculture of New Orleans in the 1950s.

literature >> Shilts, Randy

Randy Shilts pioneered as an openly gay journalist in the 1970s and 1980s and was an astute interpreter of the various issues affecting American gay men and lesbians.

social sciences >> Signorile, Michelangelo

Michelangelo Signorile is a prolific, and often provocative, writer and activist whose books and articles, radio show, newspaper columns, and website champion the cause of glbtq rights.

social sciences >> Sissy Boy Syndrome

When the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses, it added in its place "Gender Identity Disorder in Childhood," or "The Sissy Boy Syndrome."

social sciences >> Suicide

In addition to the general risk factors for suicide, such as depression and substance abuse, glbtq people also face stressors such as discrimination and harassment, which put them at an increased risk for suicidal behavior.

literature >> Sullivan, Andrew

Social and political commentator Andrew Sullivan has established himself as an influential participant in Anglo-American political discourse.


Carr, David. "Can CNN Anchor Balance News Gravitas and Daytime Fluff?" New York Times (November 8, 2011): Finance, 16.

______. "The Pendulum of Reporting on Katrina." New York Times (September 5, 2005): C1.

Cooper, Anderson. Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.

Grindley, Lucas. "Will Anderson Cooper Ask about Bullying As Host of the GOP Debate?" The Advocate (October 14, 2011):

Jensen, Elizabeth. "An Anchor Who Reports Disaster News with a Heart on His Sleeve." New York Times (September 12, 2005): E6.

Petrozzello, Donna. "Enough People Dig 'Mole,' Says Host." Daily News (New York) (February 26, 2001): 86.

Ryan, Andrew. "The Anchor As Sex Symbol." Globe and Mail (Toronto) (August 31, 2004): R1.

Stetler, Brian. "Cooper Becomes Loud Voice for Gulf Residents." New York Times (June 18, 2010): A19.

Sullivan, Andrew. The Daily Beast (July 2012):

Van Meter, Jonathan. "Unanchored." New York Magazine 38.32 (September 19, 2005): 34-39, 126.

Volsky, Igor. Thinkprogress (June 7, 2011):


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Cooper, Anderson  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2012  
    Date Last Updated August 13, 2012  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2012 glbtq, Inc.  


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