These days most news broadcasts (especially those on cable) have prioritized making the viewer angry over actually informing anybody in an accurate way. That's just how cable news works now! So long as the viewer is angry, ratings will remain high. Personally whenever I watch the news, it's with a million grains of salt (lately I've taken to just burying my head in a wheelbarrow of salt), but I can at least recognize the downright likeable people delivering the politically skewed exaggerations that roll off their teleprompters. That's right, I like a lot of these anchors AS PEOPLE. And based on the recent wave of press over Anderson Cooper's coming out—not to mention HBO's new watercooler drama about a news room (can't remember the title)—it's clear that many of you do too.
So, without devolving into a rant-based screaming match about bias and fascism and socialism and the downfall of America, can we just talk about which anchors we like AS PEOPLE? Seriously, let's make this a nice conversation: Which news anchor would you want to be friends with in real life? Here are my picks:
CNN's Anderson Cooper
You're probably like, "OBVIOUSLY you would pick Anderson Cooper, Price." Touché, reader. But the thing is, I liked Anderson Cooper before I knew anything about him. In high school we had this closed-circuit TV system in homeroom that played a lame news-for-teens show called Channel 1 News and a much younger Anderson Cooper, Lisa Ling, and Serena Altschul were all anchors! Those were formative years for me so I've loved following their careers since. For his part, Anderson Cooper's carved out this weird niche of hard news and touchy-feely talk-show hosting, but his often inscrutable personality has lent itself really well to speculation and then appreciation for what we've detected between the lines. He's definitely kept my attention.
Fox News' Shepard Smith
A lot of Fox News played in my house growing up and I was always baffled by Shepard Smith. Who was this sassy Tennessee Williams character with the Disney eyes sharing wry inside jokes with his fellow anchors? He seemed really interesting to me! But then I saw this clip and became a fan for life:
NBC's Brian Williams
I think when I first became aware of Brian Williams I chalked him up to being a poor man's Tom Brokaw. But after he took over Brokaw's slot and made the broadcast his own, he's really shown himself to be an understated and occasionally subversive deliverer of frequently ridiculous headlines. And in his various media rounds (whenever he's promoting whatever he promotes) he's an ace interview, often leaving talk show audiences in stitches. Maybe it's an expectations thing where you would never expect someone like Brian Williams to be hilarious, but it doesn't matter, he definitely is.
HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell
Do you feel like getting yelled at today? What about from a lady with hairdo that could only be described as "an avant-garde sculptural piece which serves as a comment on society's brutality"? Guys, Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell is something I constantly stop on while channel-surfing and it never lets me down. Jane Velez-Mitchell is MAD. She may never overcome the comparison to fellow livid HLN host Nancy Grace, but that underdog status makes me like her even more.
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow
I don't know, Rachel Maddow seems like the cousin you'd gravitate to during your annual family Christmas party. While everyone's hugging and complimenting each other's sweaters and asking pointed questions about each other's jobs and/or love life, we'd be standing in the corner trading sarcastic quips about Prometheus or whatever. You know? Obviously she's pretty articulate, but what I like most about Rachel Maddow is she has a knowing, self-aware sense of humor. That definitely goes a long way with me.
Fox News' Bill Hemmer
I mean, just look at him! Not only is he wholesomely handsome, Bill Hemmer's got that aw-shucks personality that's hard to dislike. He's like your older brother's laid-back jock friend who might've taken five years to finish high school, but he still got to speak at graduation and the whole town showed up to support him. He's likeable, is what I'm saying.
HLN's Nancy Grace
LOLOL. I don't know how much of Nancy Grace's persona is an Andy Kaufman-esque hoax (Question: has Nancy Grace ever appeared in the same room as Judy Tenuta?), but I don't care. Be my best friend, Nancy Grace?
YOUR TURN! Which news anchors do YOU like as people?
Polite reminder: Please let's keep this upbeat and not hateful. Thanks! —Management