Jonathan Klein

Anderson Cooper the daytime talk show host does not look all that different from Anderson Cooper the disaster reporter. He is still boyish, still earnest, still reliably clad in a button-down that accentuates the blue of those sympathetic eyes. Yet much of the new show’s media coverage has harped on the apparent contradiction between the two Coopers: windblown Anderson in a flak jacket vs. spruced-up Anderson ministering to celebrities on his talk show couch. “Anderson Cooper offers another version of himself on talk show ‘Anderson,’” announced The Washington Post online.

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The end of Larry King Live, after 50 years and a steep drop in ratings, was inevitable in a cable news climate that values mindless partisanship over mindless nonpartisanship. In contrast to the likes of MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and Fox’s Glenn Beck, CNN’s middle-of-the-road tack was flailing. King’s farewell aptly coincided with the end of another institution in softball interviewing: The Oprah Winfrey Show, that stronghold of cheery neutrality and generic goodwill.

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