Did a CNN Anchor Suppress Story Outing Anderson Cooper?
CNN's host of "Reliable Sources," Howie Kurtz, denies accusations that he had a hand in killing a story that would have outed Anderson Cooper a year before the actual announcement, Politico reports.
In an interview with the Capital New York, BuzzFeed Editor Kate Arthur, in a discussion about Jodie Foster's "coming out" Golden Globe speech, happened to mention that in 2011, Kurtz had "interfered with a story" about Cooper so his sexual orientation would not be revealed.
"[This] was less than two years ago. I was an editor at the Daily Beast then, and assigned Tricia Romano to write a story about [gay news anchors]," Arthur told Capital. "It was tricky, because Anderson Cooper wasn't out yet, and talking about [Fox News host] Shepard Smith means having to deal with Fox News, which can be hard." Kurtz also serves as Washington bureau chief for the Daily Beast.
She goes on to relate how Kurtz somehow found out about the story and emailed a "top editor who was nervous about the story." According to Arthur, he wrote that "'I hope this isn't about AC."
"Eventually," Arthur said, "the story became such a pain in the ass, and this particular editor was so nervous about it, that we had to kill it. People just get crazy about the hideous possibility that you might call a gay person gay."
According Politico, Kurtz is adamant that he did not pressure the Daily Beast editor into nixing the story.
"These suggestions are offensive and absurd," Kurtz said in an email to Politico. "My position, publicly and privately, has always been the same: I don't out people and responsible news organizations shouldn't out people. I didn't control what anyone at the Daily Beast had to say on the subject."
He called Anderson Cooper's sexuality before he publicly acknowledged it, "the biggest open secret in the history of journalism." Kurtz also said that Cooper should "get to decide if and when he wants to talk about his sexuality" and that "outing people is gossip dressed up as news."
"The notion that I did anything other than express my view in an e-mail is flat-out fiction," he said in a follow up email to Politico.
In July 2012, Cooper finally admitted that he is gay in an interview with out-gay blogger Andrew Sullivan.