Listening to criticism of Anderson Cooper for repeatedly calling ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak a "liar" is a lot like listening to diehard supporters of an old regime who don't understand that their side has lost.
It began with James Rainey blogging for the Los Angeles Times, who noted that Cooper had used the "l" word 14 times in a single edition of his nightly CNN show.
"Cooper's accusations of 'lies' and 'lying got so thick on Wednesday’s show that the host seemed to be channeling comic (and now U.S. Sen.) Al Franken’s 2003 book, 'Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.'"
Howard Kurtz, who has a show on Cooper's own news channel, asked, "Should an anchor and correspondent be taking sides on this kind of story?"
Fox News commentator Liz Trotta called it "shocking," suggesting that "any correspondent worth his salt knows that you shouldn't be making editorial comments." Yes, she made the comments on Fox News Channel.
Trotta was a TV correspondent, covering the Vietnam War for NBC back in the 1960s -- when the business was far, far different. Her shock at Cooper's comments made it seem she hasn't watched or read much journalism lately.
There are a couple revolutions that have been ongoing in the media, both technological and stylistic, and Cooper is a good example of both.
His "Anderson Cooper 360" show took him to Cairo for the height of the protests, when he risked the danger to tell us what he saw and what he'd learned from the beating heart of the Egyptian revolution, Tahrir Square.
In a memorable live broadcast from Cairo, without the normal production values, he told viewers that CNN had been warned of a possible attack and continued to report anyway.
He's not an old-fashioned wire service reporter whose job it is to give the who, what and where of a story. In fact, as interest in the just-the-facts style of reporting has faded, we've moved beyond that traditional style of journalism.
Obviously, his bosses have given him the editorial freedom to offer his own insights into a story.
Yes, that's a revolution. Here we have a reporter, to use the simplest description of what Cooper does, telling us what he knows, based on his experience in Egypt. Like the explosion of free speech in Cairo, it's a whiff of fresh air.
Of course, it's relatively easy to use such language to describe the actions of a dictator and his regime. The next step would be for somebody to use it to an American politician caught in a lie.
That would be revolutionary journalism.
A sad story comes out of Cairo: CBS has issued a statement on what happened to correspondent Lara Logan in Cairo's Tahrir Square on the very day Mubarak stepped down: "She and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration. It was a mob of more than 200 people whipped into a frenzy.
"In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers.
"She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning. She is currently in the hospital recovering. There will be no further comment from CBS News and Correspondent Logan and her family respectfully request privacy at this time."
On TV: Channel 4's Charles Benson goes one-on-one with Barack Obama this afternoon in Washington, as the president talks to a number of local TV stations about his budget plans. Benson is asking for viewer questions that he may ask of the president. Email your question to news@today'stmj4.com.
- Comedy Central has listed the nominees for its first "Comedy Awards." Battling for best comedy series are: "30 Rock," "Eastbound & Down," "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Modern Family," and "The Office." You can find the full list of nominees here.
- Despite reports to the contrary, troubled Lindsay Lohan tweets that she will not read the "Top 10" on Thursday's CBS "Late Show with David Letterman."
- HBO says it will tape two of Lady Gaga's Madison Square Garden concerts for a May 7 special.
"Survivor" begins again: The latest season of CBS' "Survivor" debuts tonight with a twist that allows candidates sent packing to have a second chance to compete (hence the subtitle, "Redemption Island.")
It premieres at 7 p.m. on Channel 58.
There's a little local interest in this edition, since the cast features Random Lake's Andrea Boehlke. Here's her video introduction from "Survivor":
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.