Anderson Cooper saves a kid in Haiti
Many years ago, I was sitting in a classroom at Curtin University in Australia and there was a big debate going on among the students. The unit was Media Ethics and we were asked to discuss the following scenario (I’m rephrasing, obviously):
If you were assigned to cover an accident, and found yourself in a situation where you could help one of the victims, what would you do? Would you help the victim and lose the story, or would you take your camera out and grab that shot?
Most of us argued that we would save the person (after all, it’s a life) but then, since it was hypothetical, some took the stand that you were there to do your job and besides, there are other people around who can help. Of course, with most things to do with ethics, there is really no right or wrong.
I wasn’t very sure what I thought then or which side I took. But I do remember struggling with the idea and telling myself that I would never really know what it would be like until I found myself in such a situation. I haven’t just yet.
A few days ago however, I was sitting at my desk doing some work when I saw very troubling images on TV (yes, we have a TV set at the office) of the troubles that has hit Haiti. Suddenly, a clip was shown of Anderson Cooper running off with a Haitian child. At first glace, I didn’t think much of it – it is television after all.
However, the network – as CNN does – kept repeating the same footage over and over again that I couldn’t help but get intrigued. So I did a quick Google on it: “Anderson Cooper and Kid and Haiti” and there were several links to it.
The picture above is not related to Haiti, by the way, and taken from Flickr under the Creative Common License.
Now, Anderson Cooper has always been my favourite journalist. Since I started watching him on TV, I have always wanted to be like him. I was a bit disappointed when I interviewed him for an article and he was lacking response, but I put that down to my expectations being too high, and that he is probably uncomfortable being interviewed considering how he is the one who usually asks the questions (I know I feel that way).
But I digress. Watching the footage, which I am embedding below (but warning, it is VERY graphic – if you can’t deal with blood, don’t watch it), I have newfound respect for my idol.
Now, I know that there are some quarters who are dubious about the intention (it’s all over the Internet), but I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt that he was sincere in wanting to save the kid.
For the benefit of those who didn’t watch the video, a boy got caught in the middle of looting in Haiti and was hurt. He had blood streaming out of his head, and Anderson has rushed over to lead him out of it, and carried him to safety.
On his blog (Warning: very graphic pictures of blood on there too), Anderson said that he doesn’t know what happened to the kid after that. He wrote:
I ran to where he was struggling, and picked him up off the ground. I brought him to a spot about a hundred feet away. I could feel his warm blood on my arms. I stood him up, but he was clearly unable to walk. He wiped his bloody face, and I tried to reassure him. He had no idea where he was, and he clearly couldn’t walk, so I picked him up again and handed him over to someone behind that makeshift barricade. Tony, the American businessman, gave the boy a wet towel. He was then taken away by someone else. We don’t know what happened to him.
It was watching this video that made me remember about that conversation in the class. I think it’s great that journalists like Anderson made the impulsive decision to save the kid. Sure, you could argue that he knew there were cameras around and he had really nothing to lose. Well, getting in the middle of lotting, I think that’s quite brave of him.
I still don’t know how I’d react in a situation like that, but I’d like to think that I would have done the same thing that Anderson did.
He ended his post with a simple:
I hope he’s ok.
I hope so too.
11.20pm Malaysian time (+8 GMT)