Anderson Cooper on Thursday night defended CNN for having 17-year-old Greta Thunberg appear alongside a lineup of coronavirus experts in a network town hall.
Cooper rationalized Thunberg’s appearance in a lengthy monologue after the town hall, taking aim at the “phony online outrage machine” he said generated a false narrative that Thunberg was to appear in the town hall as a public health expert herself.
“Apparently somebody with a blue check on Twitter saw the initial ad,” Cooper said, referring to an ad promoting Thursday night’s town hall, “and was outraged and claimed that we had booked Greta Thunberg to be an expert on a coronavirus panel with other health experts.”
The program also included CNN broadcaster Sanjay Gupta, 50, former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, 71, and former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Richard Besser, 60.
But Cooper noted a late addition to Thursday’s lineup, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred, who’s notably also not a medical health expert.
Cooper then named other famous guests on past CNN coronavirus town halls who also lack medical expertise.
“We had Alicia Keys, a few weeks ago debuting a video for a song she released for front line workers. Nobody thought she was on a panel,” Cooper said.
“The FDA commissioner [Stephen] Hahn, Governor Cuomo and [Chef] Jose Andres, none of them were on panels, they were all individual,” he added.
Last week’s segment, Cooper pointed out, featured Spike Lee, former Vice President Al Gore and journalist Laurie Garrett.
“I just find it fascinating to watch the phony online outrage machine generate content based on Twitter based on something that was never real to begin with,” he said.
Thunberg earlier Thursday explained she was invited onto the panel to talk about a new campaign supporting UNICEF during the pandemic.
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