CNN Anchor Accused Of Blocking Story Prematurely Outing Anderson Cooper

anderson-this-summer-1As we all know, and have known for a while, Anderson Cooper is gay as the day is long, and twice as right. But before he publicly acknowledged it in a Daily Beast article last year, the Beast was planning an article that woulda/coulda (shoulda?) done the job for him.

After Jodie Foster rambled her way into coming-out history, Buzzfeed reporter and former Beast editor Kate Aurthur shared an anecdote with Capital New York about a planned story on closeted news anchors that met with some unexpected difficulty from CNN:

The story was coming along, and somehow Howard Kurtz, a colleague, got wind of it, and sent an email to a top editor who was nervous about the story, saying “I hope this isn’t about AC.” Like he couldn’t even write out his name. Howard Kurtz, media reporter, CNN employee: He interfered with a story about a then-closeted anchor at the network that pays him at the other place that pays him! There should be a “Reliable Sources” segment about it. Eventually, 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.

Dylan Byers of Politico then got wind of the story and reached out to Kurtz, who, although acknowledging having sent the email, was none too happy to be cast in the light of Aurthur’s apparent shade:

“These suggestions are offensive and absurd. 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,” Kurtz wrote in an email to Byers.

“That Anderson Cooper was gay was, before he publicly acknowledged it, the biggest open secret in the history of journalism,” he continued. “I still think he should get to decide if and when he wants to talk about his sexuality. This has nothing to do with my working at CNN; I have made the same argument about others in the media and politics who are widely known to be gay and have not chosen to talk about it. Unless there is some investigation or public action that makes it a story, outing people is gossip dressed up as news.”

Aurthur then responded with an article of her own on Buzzfeed, reprinting a rather catty email correspondence with Kurtz. But at the end of the gay day, Anderson’s out, Jodie’s out and John Travolta’s prancing about with Olivia Newton-John. So, everyone more or less wins. Except, of course, Mel Gibson.