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CNN anchor Anderson Cooper went on a tirade Thursday night over the fact that his network was widely mocked for asking teen climate activist Greta Thunberg to weigh in on the coronavirus pandemic during a town hall.
Cooper provided no explanation for why Thunberg’s input was relevant, nor did he accept any responsibility for his show’s curious choice in guests. But he did place blame, and a lot of it.
What are the details?
On Wednesday, CNN advertised that Thunberg would be joining in on a CNN global town hall about “Coronavirus Facts and Fears.” The network took a lot of heat for deciding that a teenager—more than a scientist or other expert—would be able to provide substantive information for their audience on the topic.
During Thunberg’s appearance, she emphasized that people should listen to scientists and other experts.
After the town hall was wrapped up, Cooper unleashed over what he called “phony outrage” about the fact that Thunberg was featured in the COVID-19 discussion, blaming online culture, calling out newspapers for reporting on the backlash, and even launching a pointed personal attack on Donald Trump Jr.
Cooper noted that it wasn’t just Thunberg who has been booked alongside experts and politicos for the COVID-19 specials. He pointed out the singer Alecia Keys and filmmaker Spike Lee had also been featured for “Coronavirus Facts and Fears” town halls.
The CNN anchor criticized the New York Post and Forbes for reporting on what he called the “alleged controversy,” and blamed Donald Trump Jr. for joking about Thunberg being presented as a “world renowned infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist” on CNN.
Cooper said of Trump, “Donnie Trump Jr. jumped into this—which is weird, because I thought he was allegedly running whatever remains of the Trump organization? Shouldn’t that be, like, a really busy job since it’s, you know, allegedly such a great big company?”
He went on to say that Trump weighing in caused others on Twitter to pile on, before adding, “Look, I get Donnie Trump Jr. attacking CNN and a 17-year-old Swede, that’s like low-hanging fruit. It’s like paying thousands of dollars to shoot exotic animals on a game farm, you know—it’s easy.”
Cooper added, “And I know Donnie Jr. just wants his dad to love him or notice him in a way that’s not mocking him, 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.”