Posts Tagged ‘CNN’

Could Benghazi Attack Sink Obama Election Victory?

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm



Anderson Cooper’s Coming Out Matters

In media, Uncategorized on July 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm

CNN’s silver haired, blue eyed adonis, the network’s most eligible bachelor, Anderson Cooper, is now officially off the market for us ladies.

A few days ago Anderson publicly came out  in an email to The Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan:

Andrew, as you know, the issue you raise is one that I’ve thought about for years. Even though my job puts me in the public eye, I have tried to maintain some level of privacy in my life. Part of that has been for purely personal reasons. I think most people want some privacy for themselves and the people they are close to. But I’ve also wanted to retain some privacy for professional reasons. 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. I have found that sometimes the less an interview subject knows about me, the better I can safely and effectively do my job as a journalist. I’ve always believed that who a reporter votes for, what religion they are, who they love, should not be something they have to discuss publicly. As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn’t matter. I’ve stuck to those principles for my entire professional career, even when I’ve been directly  12039_084asked “the gay question,” which happens occasionally. I did not address my sexual orientation in the memoir I wrote several years ago because it was a book focused on war, disasters, loss and survival. I didn’t set out to write about other aspects of my life. Recently, however, I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, 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. I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand. The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud. I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues. In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don’t give that up by being a journalist. Since my early days as a reporter, I have worked hard to accurately and fairly portray 19447_001_1563_CCgay and lesbian people in the media – and to fairly and accurately portray those who for whatever reason disapprove of them. It is not part of my job to push an agenda, but rather to be relentlessly honest in everything I see, say and do. I’ve never wanted to be any kind of reporter other than a good one, and I do not desire to promote any cause other than the truth. Being a journalist, traveling to remote places, trying to understand people from all walks of life, telling their stories, has been the greatest joy of my professional career, and I hope to continue doing it for a long time to come. But while I feel very blessed to have had so many opportunities as a journalist, I am also blessed far beyond having a great career. I love, and I am loved. In my opinion, the ability to love another person is one of God’s greatest gifts, and I thank God every day for enabling me to give and share love with the people in my life. I appreciate your asking me to weigh in on this, and I would be happy for you to share my thoughts with your readers. I still consider myself a reserved person and I hope this doesn’t mean an end to a small amount of personal space. But I do think visibility is important, more important than preserving my reporter’s shield of privacy.

Anderson Cooper is an incredibly talented reporter, and his decision to come out is a very brave choice to make. Homophobia and anti-gay sentiment appears much more prevalent in the US than in the UK, where an electoral candidate’s views on gay marriage could  never be used as a platform for an election campaign or as a way to gain favour with potential voters. In addition to facing domestic opposition in the US from the religious right, Cooper of course regularly interviews foreign leaders whose political ideologies directly oppose his own. Certainly, I think Anderson Cooper’s coming out will have repercussions on the way people react to and interact with him in the future. Although I believe that reporters should be allowed the same rights of privacy as anyone else, his sexuality does matter. As a media celebrity, he has the power to raise awareness about gay rights issues, and hopefully to get some people to question their own prejudice.

Germany’s Immigrants “Learn to get along”?!

In media on February 22, 2011 at 8:26 pm


CNN’s Diana Magnay correctly highlights the problem of  alienation faced by  the “180 different nationalities who call Berlin their home”. Germany’s poorly implemented immigration policies have created a ghettoised culture in Berlin, in which non-Germans can become almost totally isolated from German society. And, yes, this is particularly relevant for Turkish immigrants; probably more a consequence of the Turkish population constituting the largest, non-German ethnic group (totalling 2.1% of the 9% of immigrants living in Germany), than of any cultural aversion to integrating into German society per se.

The charming and enthusiastic English language learners in Magnay’s report are not wholly reflective of the type of students you might expect to find in one of the “government mandated English language classes”. As every ESL teacher knows, the job seekers or Arbeitsamt courses, tend to be treated by language trainers with a combination of fear and dread – they are generally attended by large groups of lower level language learners and student motivation is pretty low. Classes are usually heavily oversubscribed and offloaded onto inexperienced teachers, and students sit in the classroom for 8hrs a day, every day. If you’re just starting out with English, that’s pretty brutal. Certainly, policies on the structure and implementation of these courses needs to be revised, otherwise Germany risks alienating people like Yookie and Tomek, the young immigrants who very much want to learn languages, and to become fully integrated into German society.