CNN went into full tilt in promoting its upcoming pro-gender "reassignment" documentary "Her Name Was Steven" with Anderson Cooper's interview of Chastity "Chaz" Bono, the daughter of Sonny Bono and Cher, on his AC360 program on Thursday. Cooper very sympathetically interviewed Bono, and threw softball questions, even going so far as to ask, "How do you like shaving?"
The anchor heralded the "extraordinary transformation" of his guest at the top of the 10 pm Eastern hour, and noted that "in a rare interview, he [Bono] talks about life as a man and the journey he's still undergoing." Prior to the first segment of the interview at the bottom of the hour, Cooper aired a report from CNN's Gary Tuchman on "how Chastity became Chaz." The correspondent confused the English language to the point of referring to Bono with a male possessive pronoun at the beginning of a sentence, and then referring Bono as "she" within the same breath.
Tuchman's report featured three sound bites from People Magazine's Mike Fleeman, who also contributed to the confusion by referring to "he" [Bono] having a procedure normally associated with women:
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Today, his name is Chaz Bono, but back then, she was Chastity Bono: not just her parents' sweetheart, but an American sweetheart....
FLEEMAN: Chaz has given very little specific information about the actual procedure. We know that he's had a mastectomy. We know that he's been taking the proper hormones, know that he had a hysterectomy for unrelated reasons in the past, know that he's living completely as a man, know that he started shaving for the first time.
TUCHMAN: Chaz Bono says he now feels happiness and a sense of peace, his life evolving over the years far more dramatically than most.
Cooper then aired his interview of "Chaz" in two segments (with a third segment reserved for his program on Friday). His sympathy for his guest quickly emerged during the interview, as you can see in his questions below:
COOPER: You just celebrated your one-year anniversary of becoming Chaz. How has the first year been?
COOPER: What's the process that you've gone through- you know, psychologically, medically? It's not something you, obviously, do overnight. What have you done?...Because oftentimes a therapist will- there's a whole process of living as a male before you actually start to make any kind of- you know, hormonal or medical transformation.
COOPER: What- how- so you start taking hormones. Is that an injection?...And what starts to change? I mean, how does that feel? What does it feel like?...So your voice has much changed from what it once was?
COOPER: And you talked about top surgery. What was that process like?
COOPER: Well, I mean, that's really, I think, interesting for a lot of people. What is the feeling, once you have had that surgery, beyond the- you know, medical pain that might occur in recovery time and stuff like that? I mean, is it a feeling of, I'm this much closer to what I should be?
COOPER: That's got to be extraordinarily- an extraordinarily sense of- I don't know if dislocation is the right word, but to feel like- you know, 'These breasts are not part of who I am. This is not- these should not be here,' or seeing things in a way that is not the way- you know, other girls see things. I mean, can you kind of walk us through. What is that like?...You were never happy when you looked in the mirror?...For, I mean, as long as you can remember?
COOPER: When you see- we're showing some photos of you, I guess, from the last couple of years, or from your adult life- when you see those photos, what do you think?
COOPER: For a lot of Americans, no doubt, the first time they saw you was back on 'The Sonny & Cher Show,' and I remember when I was a little kid watching you on that. When you see those- that image of yourself and when you see a video of yourself as a child, as you see pictures of yourself as a child, what do you see? I mean, what was- was it that early on that you already felt a sense of being different?
COOPER: Obviously, a lot of people, one of the major issues they have is how to deal with their family, how to tell their family. Are you happy? Or how supportive has your family been?
COOPER: Silly question probably, but I know as of last fall, I read you were shaving once a week. Are you doing it more now?...How do you like shaving? I find it one of the more annoying things one has to deal with.