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Person of the Year: The Finalists

Poty Anderson Cooper

ANDERSON COOPER: Keeping Them Honest Is a Way of Life

Anderson Cooper is not only the top ratings draw on CNN, but also a pivotal figure in the presidential election. The journalist became the first out gay man to moderate a presidential debate — and, boy, was it a doozy. Cooper had the job of confronting Donald Trump on live national television about the Access Hollywood tape. “You called what you said 'locker-room' banter. You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals,” Cooper began. “That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?” It was because of Cooper's question and Trump's denial that he'd ever actually done what he’d said on tape that a series of women came forward to say the Republican nominee had touched them sexually without permission. If Trump’s campaign was ever almost derailed, that was one moment. Soon after, Cooper scored a rare televised interview with Melania Trump. Cooper probably popped up in your Facebook feed for tangling with Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway. Cooper had a big year outside of politics too, penning a best-selling book with his famous mom, Gloria Vanderbilt — The Rainbow Comes and Goes — and premiering a simultaneous HBO documentary, Nothing Left Unsaid. Both are intensely personal, a quality in Cooper’s reporting that was on display when he grilled Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi after the Pulse massacre about her history of opposing equal rights for LGBT people. We all related as he broke down in tears while listing the names of the dead shortly after the tragedy. What’s different about this journalist is that while he’s steadfastly objective — he won’t even vote in elections — Cooper lets his passion through.

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