CNN host Anderson Cooper forcefully clapped back Thursday night at “phony online outrage” over teen climate activist Greta Thunberg’s appearance on the network’s “Coronavirus: Facts and Fears” town hall.
“I just wanted 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. Yesterday, CNN ran an ad with pictures of some of our guests who would be on our two-hour program tonight,” Cooper said at the end of the town hall, before showing the ad that featured Thunberg alongside CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, former CDC director Richard Besser.
“Apparently someone with a blue check on Twitter saw the initial ad, was outraged, and claimed we had booked Greta Thunberg to be an expert on a coronavirus panel with other health experts,” Cooper said, apparently referring to Yashar Ali, whose bio identifies him as a New York Magazine/HuffPost contributor — and whose tweet on the subject was liked by more than 23,000 people.
“Then, of course, Donny 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 a really busy job since it’s allegedly such a great big company?” Cooper added, referring to Trump Jr.’s tweet.
“Anyway, once DJTJ started typing, then other people with blue checks on Twitter also started doing their thing, because everyone has to produce content these days,” Cooper added. “That’s what it’s all about. It’s like a tween on Tik Tok — you’ve got to produce content, lest you miss out on a cycle of phony outrage.
“Then someone who is apparently a reporter at Forbes, wrote an article about this alleged controversial booking, and the concern about it, and the New York Post today wrote about it as well, claiming we were having her on a panel, which is what the first person on Twitter was claiming, which was made up. It was made up then, it was made up today in the Post. In case you think this is some sort of cover-up, look at our past ads for shows,” Cooper said, before showing ads featuring guests including Alicia Keys and Spike Lee, despite the fact that they weren’t on “panels.”
“Look, I get Donny Trump Jr attacking CNN and a 17-year-old Swede. That’s like low hanging fruit,” Cooper said. “That’s like paying thousands of dollars to shoot exotic animals on a game farm. You know, it’s easy. And I know Donny Trump 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. It’s kind of surreal to watch it all play out. In the words of our dear leader, sad.”
Watch Thunberg’s appearance below.