September 18, 2018 at 11:01 am EDT | by Mariah Cooper
Anderson Cooper debunks hurricane conspiracy photo tweeted by Donald Trump Jr.

Anderson Cooper (Screenshot via YouTube)

Anderson Cooper devoted nearly 10 minutes of his live CNN broadcast on Monday to debunking a hurricane conspiracy photo that was shared by Donald Trump Jr.

“It’s a shame that CNN’s ratings are down 41%. What’s worse is there’s a simple solution that they refuse to accept. Stop Lying to try to make @realDonaldTrump look bad,” Trump Jr. tweeted along with a photo which shows Cooper standing waist-deep in water while filming a report for CNN. A crew member is seen standing above him in much shallower water.

Gavin J. Smith, a former Trump Administration official, also tweeted out the photo writing “Absolutely disgraceful! Apparently #HurricaneFlorence wasn’t devastating enough for @CNN’s @andersoncooper — so he had to exaggerate for his live shot. #FakeNews at its finest!”

The photo has become a meme for right-wingers on social media.

“I usually let conspiracy theorists go unanswered,” Cooper says before listing the theories that he faked reporting on Sandy Hook and that he used a boy as a shield in Haiti.

Cooper slammed Trump Jr. saying “I know he considers himself an outdoorsman and pays a lot of money to be led to wildlife in Africa that he then kills. But I’m not sure if he’s ever actually been to a hurricane or a flood.”

“I didn’t see him down in North Carolina the last few days helping out, lending a hand,” he went on. “But I’m sure he was busy doing something important besides just tweeting lies.”

Cooper explained that the photo was not taken during Hurrican Florence but during his coverage of Hurricane Ike in 2008.

“I’ve covered hurricanes for about 14 years and it really does make me sad to think that anyone would believe that I would try to fake something or overly dramatize a disaster,” Cooper says.

He breaks down the logistics of filming the segment saying that he chose to stand off the road in deeper water to both demonstrate the height of the water and to keep off the road and out of the way of rescue vehicles. He also plays clips from the segment that show Cooper walking into the flood waters.

“The idea that I am kneeling in water to make it look deep is frankly, idiotic,” Cooper says.

Cooper also notes that the photo isn’t from Hurricane Florence because the crew member seen in the photo is CNN audio tech Doug Thomas who died in September 2007.

Trump Jr. responded on Twitter saying that he never claimed the photo was from Hurricane Florence.

“If you’re going to spend 10 minutes crying about a meme you may want to make sure you’re actually right. Good article as it shows exactly what CNN does daily to sell false truth,” Trump Jr. writes. “CNN doing what they do best. Crying & Lying.@AC360 says I said it was a pic from Florence. Isaid no such thing.’evidence’ CNN provided doesn’t even reference Florence. You guys can’t even fact check a meme. The illusion created by the pic is illustrative of the bs you sell!”




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