This Is CNN? Anderson Cooper Giggles Over Photo of Self as Drag Queen

Is this CNN's idea of professionalism? Anderson Cooper is a prime-time anchor and face of CNN, but he giggled over a photo-shopped picture of himself as a drag queen on the June 2 Anderson Cooper 360.

Cooper was confessing his "creepy fan girl" obsession over music star Cher. "[Y]ou try keeping a 46-year-old gay man away from Cher," he quipped. When Cooper joked he was a "part-time Cher impersonator," CNN displayed a photo-shopped picture of him as a drag-queen.

"So yes, let it be known that I, Anderson Cooper, when not guiding Americans through the stories of our time with my steely blue eyes, I'm a part-time Cher impersonator available for birthdays," Cooper joked before the photo of him appeared on the screen.

"Oh man! Man! Nobody told me there would be a graphic. Let's just take that down, please. That – no, no! That is – oh man," he reacted, laughing.

"It's not just her talent, it's not just her philanthropy, which she actually does a lot in very quiet ways, it's the fact that Cher puts up with me, Anderson Cooper, creepy fan girl," Cooper admitted. "That's what makes her so awesome and that's what puts you on the 'Ridiculist' if you're a doubter."

It's not the first time CNN's photoshopped people as drag queens and put them on the air. CNN Contributor John Avlon described Missouri's 2012 GOP primary as just a "beauty contest" and CNN made his point by displaying Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich as drag queens.

(H/T HuffPost Media)

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on Anderson Cooper 360 on June 2 at 8:57 p.m. EDT:

[8:57]

ANDERSON COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist," and tonight we're adding anyone, anyone out there who may doubt that Cher is awesome. That's right, America. Hold onto your wigs because I'm launching a pre-emptive strike against any of these Cher skeptics because she is awesome, not just because she's a global icon who transcends generations, not just because she's back with a new single. Oh no, she's awesome because she puts up with me and my borderline creepy behavior. You see, I actually know Cher, not in a singing a duet of "I Got You, Babe" in her Jacuzzi kind of way, but I do kind of know her. And a few nights ago Cher was on my friend Andy Cohen's Bravo show. Watch what happens live, and what can I say, you try keeping a 46-year-old gay man away from Cher.

(Video Clip)

ANDY COHEN: I'm assuming that you had – oh my god it's our doorbell. Come in. Oh my gosh, it's Anderson Cooper, everybody! Hey Coops! Oh my god!

COOPER: I literally rushed down here – I got off the air at 11 and I jumped in a car, I was like I have to see Cher.

(End Video Clip)

COOPER: That's how awesome Cher is. I show up unannounced, dressed more for a k.d. lang concert than a Cher encounter, blathering like the over-eager fan that I am and she was totally cool with it. So what did I do? Did I calm down and sit there quietly like a normal person would, basking in her legendary sparkle? No.

(Video Clip)

COOPER: You watched C-Span a lot and you used to call in to C-Span – and C-Span would get a – the anchor would be on the air and there would be a voice saying like we're taking calls and it'd be like, "I'm calling from Malibu." And they would be like is this Cher? It's like "yes."

(End Video Clip)

COOPER: Yeah. I did my Cher impression in front of Cher. Seriously, I do not know what is wrong with me, but I will say in my own defense, who else would have the nerve to do that? Certainly not another Cher super-fan here at CNN who shall remain nameless, Wolf Blitzer. So yes, let it be known that I, Anderson Cooper, when not guiding Americans through the stories of our time with my steely blue eyes, I'm a part-time Cher impersonator available for birthdays. Oh man! Man! Nobody told me there would be a graphic. Let's just take that down, please. That – no, no! That is – oh man. But back to Bravo the other night, even my terrible Cher impression didn't turn Cher against me. She didn't turn her Oscar-winning role in Moon Struck and slap me across the face , nor did she snap me with her thong from the "Turn Back Time" video, but unfortunately, that wasn't my only bizarre moment.

(Video Clip)

COOPER: My mom always wanted to have a girl. She had four boys, and so she always called you her fantasy daughter. So I literally – when I was really young, I grew thinking am I related to Cher? I don't quite – is Cher my sister?

(End Video Clip)

COOPER: At that point, Cher's security started to talk into their hands and motion toward me. I think she thought I was going to insist she come live with me and let me braid her hair, which, Cher, if you're watching, I totally would do. So all you doubters out there, these tramps and thieves, take note – please god, don't show that graphic again. It's not just her talent, it's not just her philanthropy, which she actually does a lot in very quiet ways, it's the fact that Cher puts up with me, Anderson Cooper, creepy fan girl. That's what makes her so awesome and that's what puts you on the "Ridiculist" if you're a doubter.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014