The Real Story Behind the 'Cycle of Phony Outrage' Over Greta Thunberg's Coronavirus Town Hall

AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

On Wednesday, CNN released an ad for its coronavirus town hall on Thursday — an event that just wouldn’t be complete without climate-obsessed teenager Greta Thunberg. Climate skeptics did a doubletake and even Donald Trump Jr. mocked CNN’s decision to treat the seventeen-year-old Swede like an expert on the pandemic. CNN host Anderson Cooper just couldn’t take it. He concluded the “Coronavirus: Facts and Fears” town hall with a rant about the “surreal, absurd drama” and “alleged controversy” of having a climate activist front-and-center promoting a coronavirus event.


“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. Then, of course, Donnie Trump Jr. jumped into this, which is weird because I thought he was allegedly running whatever remains of the Trump organization,” Cooper said.

He acted as though Thunberg’s appearance on the panel was a non-troversy, a “surreal, absurd drama” fueled by phony outrage.

“Everyone has to produce content these days because that’s what it’s all about. It’s like a tween on TikTok. You’ve got to produce content lest you miss out on a cycle of phony outrage,” Cooper said. He lamented that Forbes and The New York Post took it seriously.

“And in case you think this is some sort of cover-up, look at our past ads for shows. They’re exactly the same,” the CNN host added. He noted that CNN had Alicia Keys, former Vice President Al Gore, and Spike Lee on other coronavirus town hall events.

“I get Donnie Trump Jr. attacking CNN and a seventeen 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 quipped. “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.”


Cooper harped on the fact that CNN did not invite Thunberg to speak on a “panel,” as news outlets reported. But the outlet did present Thunberg as a reliable guest for an event entitled, “Coronavirus: Facts and Fears.” This is significant because it suggests an editorial connection between the coronavirus pandemic and the alleged climate change crisis — the only reason people pay attention to Greta Thunberg.

Trump Jr.’s mocking tweet is instructive. “Greta Thunberg having 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,” he tweeted.

Sure, CNN had Alicia Keys and Spike Lee on other coronavirus events, and they’re not experts. Sure, CNN had Al Gore on a coronavirus panel, and he’s become a climate activist. But CNN had Alicia Keys on in order to speak about her music designed to help people during the lockdowns. Gore may be a climate activist, but he was also vice president.

Greta Thunberg is just Greta — a teenager whose only claim to fame is her shrieking at the free market system and its supposed abuses against the environment. The daughter of an actor and an opera singer, Thunberg enjoys the backing of a climate industrial complex that stands to rake in government cash if Sweden expands its climate programs.


Meanwhile, the much-prophesied climate crisis persistently fails to occur. This is frustrating for climate alarmists, so they seize on all sorts of non-related phenomena to suggest there really is something going on. Last month, none other than presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden claimed that the coronavirus is a “wake up call” on climate change — as if carbon emissions, rather than a Wuhan laboratory experimenting on bat coronaviruses or a Chinese Communist Party fighting to cover it up, were the real culprit behind the pandemic.

CNN’s decision to include Greta Thunberg on a “Coronavirus: Facts and Fears” town hall was not a “cycle of phony outrage.” Rather, it seemed to confirm that the left-wing network endorses this kind of approach to the coronavirus.

To state the obvious, the global pandemic has nothing to do with climate change. There is no reason to turn to Greta Thunberg for advice in this crisis unless CNN was doing a human interest story on how Swedish teens with international activist followings are faring during the lockdowns.

Sorry, Anderson Cooper, but this is not “phony outrage” just to procure content — it’s a black mark on CNN’s coverage of the coronavirus. The very fact that you seem blind to the reality of this scandal only highlights the climate alarmist bubble you live in.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.


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