On Monday, Anderson Cooper officially came out of the closet in an email addressed to openly gay writer, Andrew Sullivan, which was published in full with his permission. Targeting fears that he is uncomfortable with his sexual orientation, Cooper made it clear to the public that it is quite the opposite. Cooper’s letter confirmed what many people have suspected over the years.
For journalists like Anderson Cooper, maintaining a successful career on television should have nothing to do with their private lives. The public should commend reporters for their hard work, not whether or not they choose to share important aspects of their personal lives.
“Even though my job puts me in the public eye, I have tried to maintain some level of privacy in my life,” Mr. Cooper wrote. “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.”
He continues, “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.”
Cooper believes that “who a reporter votes for, what religion they are, who they love, should not be something they have to discuss publicly.” The most important thing for a journalist is to “[show] fairness and honesty in his or her work.” In other words, “their private life shouldn't matter.”
Cooper once told columnist Gail Shister, that “he didn’t want to be known as ‘the gay anchor’” and that “he didn’t want his sexuality to be connected to his profession.”
The fact of the matter is that Cooper did not need the world knowing his sexual orientation to be one of America’s most successful television journalists. In addition to hosting the prime-time show, “Anderson Cooper 360,” on CNN, Cooper also has his own daytime television talk show, “Anderson,” and is a correspondent on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”
Cooper likes to let his work speak for itself. In his 2006 memoir, “Dispatches From the Edge,” he intentionally left out his sexuality because he was reporting on topics like “war, disasters, loss and survival.”
News of Cooper’s coming out wasn’t really news to everyone, indicating that our culture is slowly making strides in equality and freedom. I’ve always respected Anderson Cooper as a journalist, and I don’t expect that to change unless he says something stupid like, “The Supreme Court has just struck down the Affordable Care Act.”