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Greta Thunberg denies she's appearing as expert on CNN's coronavirus panel: 'I'll be interviewed on activism'

Her announcement came shortly after the network faced criticism for adding the teenager to a lineup of public health experts
UPDATED MAY 14, 2020
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, on Thursday, May 14, denied that she would be appearing on a CNN coronavirus town hall panel in the capacity of an "expert." Her announcement came shortly after the network faced criticism for adding the teenager to a lineup of public health experts on a segment titled 'Coronavirus - Facts and Fears.'

The 17-year-old, in a tweet, insisted that she will only be interviewed in the segment about her activism. "Tonight I’ll be interviewed on CNN to talk about the new campaign supporting @UNICEF during Covid-19 and about being an activist in a world altered by the coronavirus," she wrote. "It seems some people thought I was going to be on an expert panel, which of course has never been the case."

The climate crusader also responded to criticism stating that she did not belong alongside other guests at the panel, former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, 71, and former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Richard Besser, 60.

She said: "I am an activist. The only people claiming that I’m an ‘expert’ are those who are trying to ridicule me. My message has always been to unite behind the science and listen to the experts."

Led by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (C), young activists and their supporters rally for action on climate change on September 20, 2019 in New York City (Getty Images)

CNN, on Wednesday, May 13, announced that teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg will feature in its next expert panel townhall program on coronavirus on its channel. Shortly after the announcement, social media mocked the network's decision for including the teen on a panel of reputed health experts on the deadly virus.

Journalist Yashar Ali asked his 619,000 Twitter followers: "What place does Greta Thunberg have in this town hall? This is a panel of top health experts and administrators,” he wrote. “A climate activist would be better suited on a different panel. She’s not a climate scientist. It’s a matter of placement.”

Ben Shapiro, on the other hand, questioned the network's "level of self-awareness" on Twitter. "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," Shapiro tweeted.

Republican Joe Walsh also took a dig at President Donald Trump along with Thunberg. He tweeted: "Can we all agree that neither Donald Trump nor Greta Thunberg should ever be considered as experts on coronavirus?"

Washington Examiner's Brad Polumbo wrote an opinion piece, stating that it was "beyond parody," slamming "liberal journalists". "The same liberal journalists who have scolded people for so much as questioning the wisdom of the federal government’s top coronavirus experts, such as Dr Anthony Fauci and Dr Deborah Birx, are now literally telling people to get their scientific analysis from Greta Thunberg," he wrote in his piece.

There were several others who backed the young climate crusader, pointing out that many of the users mocking CNN's decision were conservatives and highlighted President Trump and his controversial suggestion of considering injecting oneself with disinfectants as a possible coronavirus treatment. "The same conservatives who are perfectly fine with the president yelling over experts and telling people to drink bleach are now crying about Greta Thunberg being included in a panel," one user wrote.