December 02, 2011 5:45pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Anderson Cooper's Talk Show Is a News Program, FCC Rules
It's official. The U.S. Government has decreed that Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show, Anderson, is a bona fide news interview program.
There appears to have been some doubt about this. The show topics this week have included such journalistic queries as the ethics of spanking children, how to free one's life from clutter, and a "new trend" of parents gifting their children plastic surgery.
ANE Productions requested the FCC's help in clarifying that the daytime talk show is indeed a news program. On Monday, the government agency responded with a thumbs up.
Here's the ruling by FCC assistant chief Robert Baker declaring Anderson to be news for purposes of regulations.
Specifically, one reg matters most of all -- Section 315 of the Communications of 1934, otherwise known as the "Equal Time Rule." The significance here is that TV and radio stations are obligated to treat political candidates equally, including giving them proportionate time on air.
Congress has exempted news shows, though, meaning that if Anderson now wants to hear Newt Gingrich's feelings on spanking Mitt Romney, the stations that carry Cooper's syndicated show aren't obligated to hear what Buddy Roemer has to say too.
Of course, there was hardly any doubt that Anderson would qualify for the exemption, even if the show's idea for a fun show on euthanasia includes "Daniel the Miracle Dog."
As the FCC's ruling points out, the TV show Entertainment Tonight has also qualified as a bona fide newscast after the agency decided its "role is not to decide, by some qualitative analysis, whether one kind of news story is more bona fide than another."
For some reason, the FCC likes to italicize its bona fides so we will too.