A bold story on CNN, whisked quickly off the homepage

Today CNN is was running a story by Anderson Cooper front and center on the website. I started this last night and made that change right now after checking back to be sure.

The story is a reprint of Anderson’s very personal September 2003 article in Details about the suicide of his brother, Carter, and his own painful personal flashbacks set against scenes of grief and devastation from his travels. It is moving, personal, spare, honest, and very, very sad.

Anderson’s loss is public knowledge, of course, but it’s not something that seems to be mentioned often, certainly not by him. Which is why I was so surprised last night to see it front and center on the CNN homepage last night under the bald headline “My brother’s suicide.” In the past I have avoided mentioning it out of respect but CNN has made that moot now, and while I wondered at the rationale for putting it front and center I wonder more at why it was pulled.

It certainly makes sense to make more information available about Anderson now that his popularity has deepened and his audience broadened thanks to coverage of the Katrina coverage and his subsequent new spot on “Newsnight” with Aaron Brown. We know that Jon Klein considers him a star and has placed high hopes on him. And certainly the article provides context to the emotion he displayed during Katrina; it has been my experience that bereavement provides an extra level of empathy for others with whom you have a sad shared experience.

It’s obviously a very personal story and certainly an “outing” of sorts (desipte its previous publication — it was 2 years ago, after all), so presumably the decision to display it prominently on the CNN homepage was not made lightly. Given that, it seems even odder that it would be removed so quickly.

On a side note: Anyone who wonders at the kind of book Anderson is capable of producing for his $1 million payday with no proposal or outline has his answer here; Anderson has a story to tell, and he can write.