Greta Thunberg’s Addition to CNN Coronavirus Town Hall Draws Criticism, Confusion

Lindsey Ellefson

CNN announced Wednesday that teen climate activist Greta Thunberg is in the lineup for a Thursday town hall on the coronavirus, baffling observers and drawing heavy scorn from critics.

Thunberg will join former acting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Richard Besser and former Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the panel. The 8 p.m. ET program will be hosted by Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Reactions to Thunberg’s inclusion came in fast and she trended on Twitter through the day Wednesday.

Also Read: Trump Mocks Time's 'Person of the Year' Greta Thunberg: 'So Ridiculous'

Journalist and prolific Twitter user Yashar Ali mused, “What place does Greta Thunberg have in this town hall?”

Right-wing commentators like Ben Shapiro and Stephen L. Miller promptly criticized the move, too. Shapiro wrote, “Is there anyone at CNN with any level of self-awareness? Featuring Greta Thunberg on a covid-19 expert panel is just beyond words. I actually cannot believe they are this insane/stupid.”

Miller tweeted sarcastically, “She’s a virologist now? Amazing. Multiple science degrees at such a young age. An incredible inspiration to us all.”

Others, like author Roxane Gay, defended the move: “Unqualified men appear on cable all day every day, bloviating endlessly, but Greta Thunberg is a bridge too far? Ok.”

Thunberg, who was named Time’s person of the year in 2019 for her climate activism, has already involved herself in issues related to the global pandemic. As CNN itself reported, she donated $100,000 to help children affected by the coronavirus earlier this month.

A representative for CNN did not immediately return a request for comment.

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