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CNN faces heavy criticism after placing Greta Thunberg on panel of coronavirus experts

Social media users had trouble believing CNN would place Thunberg on an expert panel on coronavirus despite having nothing more than a primary school education

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CNN has been hit with a wave of criticism on social media for its decision to include Greta Thunberg among its panel of medical experts on its Facts and Fears town hall, with many questioning why the network gave a 17-year-old climate activist such a prominent role regarding the pandemic response.
 
Twitter users were quick to pile on CNN for what appeared to many as an attempt to inflate Thunberg’s credentials and label her an authority on the coronavirus when she never earned more than a primary school education.
 
Journalist Yashar Ali questioned her role on the program in a post that received over 23,000 likes.

“I understand that but this is a panel of top health experts and administrators. A climate activist would be better suited on a different panel. She’s not a climate scientist. It’s a matter of placement,” wrote Ali in follow-up tweet.

The lineup of the CNN town hall titled “Coronavirus Facts and Fears” included medical experts such as former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Richard Besser.

On the program, Greta mostly discussed her feelings and shared her belief that she was infected by the coronavirus. She says she was never tested though since she did not have access to a test.

She also added a few general sentences about science and how the public should listen to scientists.

While the panel, hosted CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and CNN broadcaster Sanjay Gupta, aimed to have a serious discussion on the topic of coronavirus, the presence of Thunberg even received pushback from Donald Trump Jr.

However, CNN’s Twitter page was hit with a wave of much more critical remarks.

“Is she an epidemiologist? Does she know how countries must handle the Coronavirus? C’mon CNN do better with your panelists,” wrote one user on Twitter.’
 
Another user wrote that they were “not picking on the kid. Picking on a ‘news’ network for featuring a child to inform the public.”
 
“Cuz a teenager best known for skipping school is who CNN considers an expert virologist,” wrote noted conservative author and personality Mark Dice.

For her part, Greta never claimed to be an expert, writing as much on Twitter.

However, some believe the decision to include her in a panel on coronavirus may have been politically motivated.

“Anyone questioning why CNN would put Greta Thunberg on a COVID-19 panel with a former CDC Director and former HHS Secretary is obviously a science denier,” one Twitter user sarcastically wrote.