Anderson Cooper, in a statement revealing CNN’s journalistic processes, has said he will accept prearranged answers when interviewing on legally sensitive issues.
The 55-year-old journalist, one of CNN’s biggest stars, balked when the lawyer who fired him dubbed him a “TV host” and insisted he be fully involved in reporting and not just the face of the news.
He said he never attended morning editorial meetings, and when asked who controls his social media, he replied, “I don’t look at social media that much.”
On the advice of his attorney, Cooper refused to answer questions about his contract: A magistrate is now asking Cooper to answer whether he has any financial incentives or bonuses associated with Anderson Cooper 360 ratings.
Cooper was asked to speak about fact-checking within CNN in a lawsuit filed by a Florida doctor who was suing him for an article accusing him of misconduct.
Anderson Cooper, pictured in March, testified behind closed doors about CNN’s journalistic trials in January
dr Michael Black, a surgeon in Florida, is suing CNN and its medical reporter over a 2015 article
Black is suing CNN and its medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen over this 2015 article
The article was written in 2015 and Cooper featured the story on his show. Cooper will not be personally sued because Dr. Michael Black is taking legal action against the network and its medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen.
Cooper’s testimony, given over several days in January this year, was obtained from online news site Puck, which obtained the documents after a court clerk accidentally left them unsealed.
In it, he describes an internal fact-checking process known as “The Triad,” in which a complicated and sensitive story is reviewed by three teams: senior editors, standards & practices staff, and corporate counsel.
Puck described it as “strict”.
Cooper said he’d never worked at an organization with such an intensive system before, and it gave him confidence in the reporting.
One of CNN’s biggest stars, Cooper balked at describing himself as a TV host
He said that when he received a script with the answers for the reporters, he would not question the discussion because it meant there had already been lengthy legal discussions.
‘My engagement with [the review] will only stick the works together because so many eyes have been looking at them,” he said.
“Normally I would just ask the question that interests me and the reporter wouldn’t know in advance what I’m asking and he would just answer it.
“The fact that there is an answer here [in this script,] I assume that meant it had gone into the Triad process.’
Beset by fact-checking, Cooper insisted he was involved in reporting and not being fed material for his show.
Cooper dismissed the notion that he was, as Mediate put it, “just a pretty face.”
“I feel like it’s like I’m doing nothing all day and just sitting around for the camera to turn on,” he said.
“I’m deeply involved, you know, all day, every day, with learning and researching and stuff.
“It’s just not for lengthy, year-long investigations.”
When asked if CNN had any rules or guidelines for how hosts should conduct interviews, Cooper replied, “Well, host isn’t a term I would use.”
The glimpse into CNN’s practices comes as new CEO Chris Licht, who took over in May, seeks to inject more rigor into CNN’s journalism and steer the network away from the dissemination of opinion.
Loud and unabashed critics of Donald Trump such as media correspondent Brian Stelter, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and political correspondent John Harwood have all left in the past month.
Puck also reported that Licht is considering making major changes and that anchors like Jim Acosta and Brianna Keilar could also be out.
The Black case is expected to go to court in the spring, and it will continue to penetrate the network.
Elizabeth Cohen, CNN’s medical correspondent, is being sued by Black
It came after CNN reported both online and on Cooper’s show that the death rate from open-heart surgery at the West Palm Beach hospital where Black worked was “three times the national average.”
Black claims the stats aren’t accurate, and says CNN was warned that its methodology was effectively picking data by only focusing on the highest-risk procedures.
The hospital, St. Mary, completed its pediatric cardiac surgery program following the revelation.
More than 240 CNN employees, including then-President Jeff Zucker, were involved in editing the story.
Black is represented by the same conservative husband-and-wife trial attorneys, Tom Clare and Libby Locke, who are conducting a case against Fox News over his election coverage.
Fox is being sued for defamation by Dominion voting systems after they reported their technology was used to manipulate the 2020 election.