Thursday, June 22, 2006

Celebrity Journalism

Alessandra Stanley's excellent article in the 21 June 2006 New York Times compares Angelina Jolie's "extravagant philanthropy" with the conspicuously caring journalism as practiced by Anderson Cooper.

Some people fault stars like Jolie or Bono or Bob Geldof for being too political. "They should just stick to acting or singing, and not behave like they're the only ones who can save the world" is an attitude many share about the exploits of celebrities far afield from their chosen profession.

Angelina JolieJolie makes no secret that she gives away one third of her income to charitable causes. Movie stars make too much money? Jolie agrees: "I have a stupid income for what I do for a living." One can't complain that someone makes too much money in their job, then complain when they give a lot of it away to those in need.

Anderson CooperStanley's article goes on to contrast Jolie's generosity with Anderson Cooper's apparent self-promotion, where he compares his own field reporting (i.e., his job) to Jolie's volunteer work with refugees. Cooper does have a way of looking simulateously caring, forbearing, and heroically handsome when reporting—arms akimbo—from some sweaty pile of devastation.

With so much work to do, and with so many stories untold, it's hard to fault Cooper's Pride (yes, I meant to capitalize "pride"), when other "news" programs feature stories about changes at your local KFC, or just how bushy Geraldo Rivera's moustache really is.

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