CNN anchor Anderson Cooper lashed out Thursday at those who ridiculed the network’s decision to spotlight climate teen Greta Thunberg on a coronavirus town hall, starting with Donald Trump Jr., accusing them of fomenting “phony outrage.”
The president’s eldest son was among the many who roasted CNN for a promo that showcased former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, former acting Centers for Disease Control Director Richard Besser, and the 17-year-old Swedish activist.
After airing a prerecorded interview with Ms. Thunberg, who said she may or may not have had COVID-19, but isolated herself to be safe, Mr. Cooper ended the show with a three-minute blast in which he mocked the mockers.
“I just want to take a moment to point out kind of a surreal, absurd drama that played out over the last 24 hours online and amazingly in some reputable news sources,” Mr. Cooper said.
He focused on the president’s son, referring to him as “DJTJ” and “Donny Trump Jr.”
“Apparently someone with a blue check on Twitter saw the initial ad and was outraged and claimed that we had booked Greta Thunberg to be an expert on a coronavirus panel with other health experts,” Mr. Cooper said. “And then, of course, Donny Trump Jr. jumped into this.”
Mr. Trump Jr. joined those razzing CNN on Wednesday by tweeting: “Greta Thunberghaving a remarkable career already in that as a teenager she’s now a world-renowned infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist AND a leading scientific voice when it comes to global climate policy. Just wow so impressive.”
Mr. Cooper said it was “weird because I thought he was allegedly running whatever remains of the Trump Organization and shouldn’t that be a really busy job because it’s, you know, allegedly such a great big company?”
Mr. Cooper pointed out that Ms. Thunberg was not featured on a panel and that CNN had run ads promoting other non-experts on previous coronavirus town halls, including filmmaker Spike Lee and singer Alicia Keys.
“In case you think this is some sort of cover-up, look at our past ads for shows. They’re exactly the same,” Mr. Cooper said.
That said, Ms. Thunberg, who donated recently $100,000 to UNICEF for coronavirus-related aid to children, was something of an outlier on the two-hour show that also featured an emergency-room physician, a vaccine tester, a World Health Organization official and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.
CNN saved the interview with the international climate celebrity for last. She talked mainly about her UNICEF work and isolating herself in her Stockholm apartment after experiencing mild symptoms, adding that she has not been tested.
At one point, however, Dr. Gupta brought up the rare inflammatory Kawasaki-like syndrome associated with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, that has afflicted some children, asking, “What do you think?”
Ms. Thunberg gamely answered that “it is sort of a myth that children are not being affected by this virus. That, of course, is very wrong.”
She also put in a plug for the “climate crisis,” saying, “It feels like the role of science is changing now, people are starting to realize that we are actually depending on science, and we need to listen to science and experts.”
Mr. Cooper said that attacking CNN and Ms. Thunberg was “low-hanging fruit.”
“It’s easy. And I know Donny Jr. just wants his dad to love him or notice him in a way that’s not mocking him,” Mr. Cooper said.
“But I just find it fascinating to watch the phony online outrage machine generate content on Twitter based on something that was never real to begin with. It’s kind of surreal to watch it all just kind of play out. In the words of our dear leader, sad.”
The critics were unabashed.
The Media Research Center’s Curtis Houck said it was like watching “a five-year-old child losing his noodle,” while the National Pulse’s Raheem Kassam said it was “[a]mazing to watch @AndersonCooper have a full-blown tantrum on national television.”
Read rest at Washington Times