Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show, Anderson, which recently featured segments such as "Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong" and "Hoarders & How to Free Your Life From Clutter," is one of the newsier shows the FCC has ruled a "bona fide news program." Cooper's show might veer from what normal people would consider "news," but Cooper's just the latest not-so-newsy program to get the FCC's "bona fide" stamp of approval.
TMZ, Entertainment Tonight, Hard Copy, Access Hollywood: All of these programs have received the same distinction as Anderson. And, if we're including "news interview," we can throw in Leno, Jerry Springer, The 700 Club, Howard Stern, Tom Joyner Radio Program, and Sally Jessy Raphael Show, too. Unlike these guys, Cooper's program, at the very least, sometimes features some news-ish stuff, like this segment on the Syracuse sex scandal, even if it's sandwiched in between a Dancing with the Stars and Tracey Gold (of Growing Pains) interviews. TMZ, which currently features "news" stories about The X Factor and DMX, also makes the FCC's cut because FCC precedent defines something as a "newscast" using this metric: "The program reports news of some area of current events, in a manner similar to more traditional newscasts." In that case, even though these programs have a bizarro interpretation of "current events," they indeed report on things that are happening right now and do it in a traditional-esque manner. Just, instead of Edward R. Murrow we get Giuliana Rancic at the helm.
The FCC's recognition of this fluffovision as "bona fide" news only really means one thing: Exemption from FCC regulations requiring equal time to be given to all political candidates under the Equal Time Rule and are thus given the ability to run ten times as many Herman Cain sex pieces as Mitt Romney is boring segments. Given the moniker's purpose, it makes sense that Anderson, a day-time talk show comprised of 90 percent human interest stories would be included in the very big club that is television news.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.