Larry King sold his suspenders. Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta saved young Haitians. And Jessica Yellin made a terrible earthquake-related pun. Welcome to the strangest night yet of CNN's unrelenting prime-time Haiti coverage.
CNN has been generally excellent in their Haiti coverage. While Fox and MSNBC have used the tragedy to pimp their political ideologies and the Today Show's Ann Curry and Al Roker flew in to be useless for a day, CNN has kept up a steady stream of on-the-ground reports and compelling pictures. But things got weird tonight as the news/newsmaker barrier was dramatically breached.
On AC360, Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta played a team of roving superhero reporters, covering the news but only after saving everyone's lives. (Imagine if somebody could be Clark Kent and Superman at the same time.) Here's a gripping report from Anderson "AC" Cooper on looting, which ends in him picking up a bloodied kid and dragging him to safety.
Then, Sanjay "Doc" Gupta—the brains of the operation—performed aircraft carrier-based neurosurgery on a young girl after no other qualified doctors could be found.
Taking a break from saving lives on the dusty streets, Anderson Cooper turned briefly to America's petty political squabbles. The Massachusetts senate race was put into perspective by political correspondent Jessica Yellin, who should probably think twice in the future before trying to get cute with the geological puns:
Anderson, first of all, compared to what you are seeing in Haiti and what people are going through there this does seem insignificant to some extent, and that really does put things in perspective. That said, I can tell you, here in Massachusetts, this election, what is about to happen tomorrow could be tectonic for American politics.
Having dispensed with pretending to care about politics, AC began to berate a wimpy Belgian medical team that abandoned its patients overnight because of "security concerns".
I do think some of these big organizations, plans are made in some other country—back in Geneva or something—and by the time it gets filtered down and the bureaucracy gets involved and there's a million sheeps involved, days have been wasted, when, you know, you could just get some folks and get out there. Roll up your sleeves and start doing it.
"Back in Geneva or something!" Is Anderson Cooper going rogue? AC and The Doc sounded ready to call everything off, bulldoze into the thick of it and turn AC360 into a sort of humanitarian aid reality show.
Meanwhile, back on the home front, actual reality TV star Ryan Seacrest tweeted in the Tweet Suite and Larry King sold his suspenders to Jared Leto during a two-hour telethon called "Haiti: How You Can Help." J. Lo, Pete Wentz, Mick Jagger, Benicio Del Toro, Snoop Dog, Ben Stiller and many, many others manned the phones and talked about the Time They Went to Haiti and How Nice and Poor Everyone Was. (Gawker.TV's got the lowdown on the absurd show which raised an equally absurd amount of money for the Red Cross.)
This is mostly great. CNN is doing good! But there's also something off-putting about Anderson and Sanjay running around Port-Au-Prince, performing heroics on camera, while Larry King and his buddies from American Idol auction off his suspenders back at home. (And Campbell Brown looks tearfully on.)
At what point does this go from "CNN's Excellent Haiti Coverage" to "CNN's Excellent Haiti Adventure?"