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On Sunday night, some of CNN’s best-known anchors took a break from reporting on high-profile newsmakers to celebrate the everyday people working to change the world at the 10th annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute.
Before the gala, which was hosted by Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa and featured celebrity presenters including Diane Lane and Neil Patrick Harris, New Day co-hosts Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota indicated they were glad to have a night off from covering President-elect Donald Trump, who’s repeatedly criticized CNN’s reporting on Twitter. Cuomo told The Hollywood Reporter that CNN Heroes is particularly special because it shines a spotlight on deserving, hard-working individuals who otherwise might not get recognized.
“This is the envy of everybody in our business,” said Cuomo, who joined CNN from ABC in 2013, with Fox News alum Camerota at his side. “Because the chance to take time and treat people who are doing God’s work as celebrities, as heroes, with the red carpet and real kind of honor. So many people just labor in silence, who are doing the right thing. That’s what makes this night so special because we always say, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to put attention on the people who deserve it most instead of the big-name celebrities?’ This event actually does that. And it’s really the only chance you get to do anything like this.”
Camerota said that for those feeling down due to the holidays or still disappointed by the election outcome, they would find plenty to be inspired by during the event, which aired live from the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
“Every single hero is wildly inspiring and makes you want to be a better person. Every story is jaw-droppingly impressive, so tonight for anyone who is bummed out, this will give them a completely new perspective,” said Camerota .
Camerota’s CNN colleague Wolf Blitzer went further when asked what specifically people could take away from the heroes being honored.
“If you step back and see what’s going on in your own neighborhood, around the country and indeed around the world, and you volunteer, give up some of your precious free time and do stuff that helps other people, that can be so so powerful,” he said. “I’m convinced that these heroes, and they’re wonderful people and they’ve helped so many people in what they’re doing, but when all is said and done, they’re helping themselves, because it is so self-rewarding knowing you’ve made a contribution along the lines of these 10 heroes here tonight and so many others who haven’t necessarily been recognized, who go out of their way to help people. It’s a wonderful experience.”
Speaking of lessons, in the wake of the 2016 election, there’s been a fair amount of navel-gazing from the media about possible mistakes in coverage they may have made, particularly with many polls leading up to the election showing Hillary Clinton ahead of Trump.
And to more carefully examine the polls was one of the lessons Blitzer said he’d learned.
“Obviously we’ll take the polls, polls in the states and national polls, a little bit more cautiously,” said Blitzer. “Most of the polls were pretty consistent and we were reporting what the polls were suggesting. But there were a lot of people out there who weren’t reflected in the polls, so I think all of us, serious journalists, will take a look at the polls, will report on what the polls are showing, but we’ll be a little bit more cautious.”
Fellow CNN host Don Lemon, meanwhile, had a broader, more positive takeaway from the election.
“I don’t know if it’s a lesson but just, anything is possible,” Lemon said. “We always say anything is possible and anyone can grow up to become president of the United States. Certainly they can. We have our first African-American president and [will soon have] our first reality show star as president. So, kids, you can do it too.”
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek