He's one of the most respected journalists today, covering everything from famine in Africa to elections in Iraq to the destruction after Hurricane Katrina. Gayle talks to Anderson Cooper about his most recent travels to the Congo, where he reported on the country's bloody civil war.
Anderson says 3 to 4 million people in the Congo have been killed since the war began in 1998, and thousands of women and children have been raped and brutalized. The conflict stems from a struggle for resources and power—different groups competing for power and competing over who would control the country's natural resources, such as gold, diamonds and coltan, a metallic ore used in high-tech gadgets such as cell phones.
"To me, the greatest tragedy overseas has always been going to places where bad things happen all the time," he says. "And people die and there's nothing sometimes that you can do about it, but the least we can do is pay attention when someone passes. … I just think there is nothing worse than people dying and/or being brutalized and no one noticing their story."
Anderson says he has been fascinated by Africa since he was a child. When he was 17, he left high school early and traveled across sub-Saharan Africa.
"There's something about meeting other people and going to places that you could immerse yourself in and lose yourself in, and there's such vibrancy…in Africa," he says. "And I got turned on by that. It opened my eyes. And once you've seen it—and once you know that you're capable doing it, once you find that you can operate in a combat environment or in a place where horrible things are happening—you feel like you have an obligation to continue to go to these places because there aren't a lot of people who are volunteering to go and it is important."