CNN anchor Anderson Cooper made an appearance via webcam on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night, claiming that the media lacks access to accurate scientific facts about the pandemic.
For his part, Cooper assured Colbert that many reporters were doing their due diligence to get the facts people needed the most.
“This is life and death. This is as serious as it gets, and it’s more important than ever before that things be true and accurate,” Cooper said. “It’s one of the reasons why I’m not taking time off. Thankfully I can do some work from home and stuff, but I feel like this is an extraordinary time to be in this business as a reporter and to be able to try to help inform people and give people facts.”
“Right now facts and science and truth—it is the difference between life or death for many people.”
Cooper then noted that accurate scientific information pertaining to the coronavirus seemed, to him, to become stifled now that all the updates about the virus was being funneled through the White House.
“You have these coronavirus task force briefings that started off, yes, with Vice President Pence constantly—you know, starting the sentence with ‘At the direction of the president.’ He knew better than to make himself…Everything was done at the direction of the president so he could stay in the president’s good graces. But you at least heard from the scientists,” Cooper said. “And suddenly the president realized ‘I should get in on these. These are popular, and the scientists are getting—you know, their numbers are going up. People are respecting them.’ He wants to get in on it, and so he has hijacked these coronavirus task force briefings.”
Cooper said it was disheartening to see that officials from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health were no longer getting to share information directly to the public, noting that the coronavirus press briefings are now “largely the president using it as a mini-campaign rally.