Anderson Cooper: “John King is like the Rain Man of politics”

Cooper, speaking at Columbia, was asked about CNN’s election coverage—and, specifically, about John King’s magic wall.

“John King is like the Rain Man of politics,” Cooper replied. Ask him about something political, and “literally, he’s like, yes, Ohio, third district, 1932.”

Cooper also mentioned the technological “advances” CNN employed so (in)famously in its election coverage. “It is possible to go overboard with bells and whistles,” he said. “I was asked at one point to hold a pie chart,” he joked, “and it was a disaster.”

He mentioned The Hologram.

“We were on for ten hours, and the hologram was on for two minutes,” Cooper said, “but what people keep talking about is the hologram.” The bells and whistles “are what people pay attention to,” he said. “I’m guessing that, frankly, that’s why [the producers] do it.”

Obviously, Cooper continued, “if every interview was done with a hologram, that’d be a problem—but to me, two minutes of that in ten hours of coverage isn’t a problem.”

“I think by and large we got it right,” Cooper said. “I’m really proud of the election coverage we did.”

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.