CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper delivered an on-air tribute to the victims of Orlando's Pulse nightclub shooting yesterday. The segment is titled 'Remembering the Victims'.
Cooper, who frequently reports from conflict zones and is known for his stoic objectivity when doing so, chokes up with emotion as he reads aloud the names and ages of the victims who died on Sunday.
“We begin tonight with their names, the names of the 48 out of 49 people that have so far been identified, victims of the deadliest mass shooting in American history, a shooting in a gay nightclub a block from where I’m standing two nights ago," he says.
During the broadcast, Cooper makes a point to not give the shooter any further media attention claiming his name and photograph have been "shown far too much already".
“There’s one name you will not hear in the broadcast, one picture of a person you won’t see. We will not say the gunman’s name or show his photograph...
“In the next two hours, we want to keep the focus where it belongs, on people whose lives were cut short, we’re going to start by honouring them." says Cooper.
Cooper then goes on to read the names of the victims along with a few anecdotes about each one. As photographs of the victims are shown on screen, the audience can hear his voice cracking, heavy with emotion.
“Edward Sotomayor Jr. He worked at a travel agency that catered to the gay community. His family says he was witty, charming…”
Fighting back tears, he continues, “And that he always left things better than he found them. He was 34 years old.”
At one point, Cooper is so overcome that he stops to clear his throat and catch his breath.
Cooper's segment also includes interviews with victims' family and friends, as well as survivors of the attack. You can watch the entire segment above.
Cooper has also been praised in the media for grilling the Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who has voiced her support of Orlando's LGBT+ community in the wake of the massacre, but has publicly shared homophobic sentiments in the past.
"I saw you the other day saying that anyone who attacks the LGBT community, 'our LGBT community' you said, would be 'gone after with the full extent of the law'," Cooper says.
"I talked to a lot of gay and lesbian people here yesterday who are not fans of yours, and they said that they thought you were being a hypocrite... that you've basically gone after gay people, and said in court that gay people, simply by fighting for marriage equality, are trying to do harm to the people of Florida—'to induce public harm'—I believe was the term you used in court."
Attorney General Bondi then denies ever being homophobic, and rationalises the cases she's defended as being 'constitutionally sound'. You can watch the full interview above.
Cooper, son of the famed Vanderbilt family, came out publicly in 2012.