Anderson Cooper has emerged as something of a hero-reporter during this whole Katrina nightmare. At the beginning yes, it’s true, we lovingly made fun of his spiffy red windbreaker and penchant for soaking it up for the cameras, but the jokes paled as the breadth of the disaster became apparent and he and his truly stalwart media brethren showed us how disastrous this disaster really is. But we fell for him all over again when he called out Louisiana Senator Landrieu on political doublespeak (we’re not alone; Wonkette agrees, nominating Anderson as “Secretary of Take No Shit“).
Tonight on 360 he was equally compelling: walking around Waveland, Mississippi, sunburnt and stubbled, looking worn and far from his usual natty, crisp self (but still, I can’t help it, hot), Anderson Cooper made me love him more with his fierce dedication to his job and country. Even so, you could tell he was just exhausted: “It’s hard not to be overwhelmed at the scope of it all,” he said as the camera panned through rubble on every side. At one point it zoomed in on a random photograph on a rock. “Turn left, turn right, it doesn’t really matter, it all ends up the same….the rest of the world just seems so far away.”
He also let off — again — on the administration, repeating what he said to Senator Landrieu about not being interested in political posturing and how the politicos keep saying they understand the frustration: “People aren’t frustrated, people are dying… It feels like Sarajevo, Sri Lanka — not here, not home, not America.” (Note: the quote at Wonkette is similar, but more upsetting.)
This is not to say that the other reporters on the ground aren’t awesome; they are (and Brian Williams, you’re as menschly as ever). We’re not picking favorites, but come on, you all know how we feel about Anderson.
UPDATE: Video of Anderson hauling off on Trent Lott at the indispensible Crooks & Liars.