CNN's Anderson Cooper Gives REM Political Platform, Album Plug

Network morning news programs showcase musicians all the time with concert series and the like, and sometimes musicians make political statements in between songs, as Bruce Springsteen did on the September 28 "Today" show. But usually those segments are fluffy revenue raisers meant to hook audiences with popular musical acts. The politics are notable for their general left-wing slant, but otherwise unconnected to the news reporting on the program or the network. Not so with Michael Stipe's appearance on the October 10 "Anderson Cooper 360," which will give Stipe and his band REM a platform to make a politically correct ecological statement in line with CNN's upcoming special, "Planet in Peril."According to CNN.com:

(CNN) -- Rock group R.E.M. plans to debut a song from its upcoming album Wednesday on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360°" program. The song "Until the Day Is Done" also will appear later this month in "Planet in Peril," a four-hour CNN documentary that looks at environmental crises around the world. "With 'Planet in Peril,' Anderson Cooper and his team have done an amazing job capturing global eco-devastation," said R.E.M singer Michael Stipe in a news release. "The images in the film are beautiful, while at the same time heartbreaking and frightening. We are honored to have our song included in this monumental project." This isn't the first time R.E.M. has worked with Cooper. The band premiered its video "Bad Day" on the show in 2002.

Speaking of "Bad Day," Stipe himself has said the song and the video he produced to go along with it took a cynical, satirical look at 24/7 news channels, of which, of course, CNN is one.Here's more of that via a Nexis transcript of an Oct. 3, 2003 appearance on "Today," wherein Stip took a few swipes at President Bush, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, and then-gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger as he introduced the song.:

COURIC: Anyway, all right. So tell me a little bit about this new CD. You don't like to call it greatest hits. It's a collection. but you have two new songs on it, right?Mr. STIPE: We have two new songs, "Bad Day," which is the single that's out right now, and another song called "Animal."COURIC: But most of it is sort of old songs that we've heard before, yes?Mr. STIPE: Yeah. It's--it's songs that were in the top 40s somewhere in the world over the past 15 years, songs that--the songs that people know us the most for.COURIC: Meanwhile, "Bad Day," I heard you started writing in 19...Mr. STIPE: It's a bad--it's a day for Limbaugh, isn't it?COURIC: Oh. You know...Mr. STIPE: It's a bad day for Schwarzenegger. It's a bad day for Bush. It's a bad day for Rove. It's a good day for me.COURIC: But it's a good day for us because you're here.Mr. STIPE: Yeah. Thank you.COURIC: Tell me a little bit how you came up with the whole morning show theme, because we showed that video and we have a piece of it to show where you guys did a a whole play off of a morning show, which is very funny.Mr. STIPE: Yeah.COURIC: Of course, we, in particular, get a kick out of it. How did you come up with that idea?Mr. STIPE: We wanted to parody and satire something that's ripe for satire, which is 24-hour American news stations. And it was much easier to be an anchorman than I thought.COURIC: Well, you did a great job. And as I said, you started writing this song in 1987, so it's great to finally get a chance to listen to it.Mr. STIPE: It is.COURIC: So you guys, Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills, what are you going to play for us now? "Bad Day," right?Mr. STIPE: "Bad Day," yes.COURIC: OK.Mr. STIPE: Thank you.(R.E.M. performs "Bad Day")
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters