Cooper’s announcement appears to have been carefully, cautiously timed: The day before a national holiday — known in the TV industry as Take Out the Trash Day — is when potentially hot-and-maybe-not-in-a-good-way news is unveiled, in hopes that lots of people are on vacation and won’t notice. (With Independence Day falling on a Wednesday this year, both Monday and Tuesday are considered Take Out the Trash Days.)
In its coverage of the news, ABC, where Cooper worked as a “Mole” host and news correspondent before moving to cable, noted that “the 45-year-old CNN journalist has dodged questions about his sexuality in the public eye.”
Sullivan explained in his Monday morning post that he got in touch with Cooper for “reasons that are probably obvious to most”: Entertainment Weekly just published an article called “The New Art of Coming Out: How Gay Stars Are Now Carefully — and Surprisingly — Going Public About Their Private Lives.”
In response, Cooper dashed off one of those e-mail responses to a pal that began: “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,” continued Cooper, whose e-mail was starting to quack a lot like a news release.
“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,” Cooper continued.
“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 asked ‘the gay question,’ which happens occasionally.”
Cooper also noted that he did not address “my sexual orientation” in the memoir he 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.”
(That Entertainment Weekly article mentioned the then-still-not-saying Cooper just once, noting that the TV critic for the New York Times had “dared to belittle Anderson Cooper during the first week of his syndicated talk show, complaining that ‘the one thing he hasn’t done yet – and the lacuna grows more obvious and awkward with each shows — is talk about his love life. It’s hard to see how he can continue to leave that out selectively.’ ”