CNN's New Year's Eve Hypocrisy | Opinion

Stay home. Keep away from friends and family. If you don't, you will literally kill people." That's the daily message you've heard for most of 2020 on CNN during the pandemic.

But when it came to New Year's Eve celebrations, the very people quite literally scolding you for visiting a park or beach to breathe fresh air during the pandemic didn't heed their own advice. CNN anchors brazenly enjoyed the holiday in a way they warned us against. And they didn't hide it; they broadcast it.

Anderson Cooper celebrated the new year on CNN by pounding shots of tequila at Times Square with Andy Cohen of BRAVO TV. Brooke Baldwin spent her night celebrating with Don Lemon at his home (labeled an "undisclosed location"). No social distancing. No mask-wearing. No setting an example and sacrificing a night out for the greater good, as we were asked to do for Thanksgiving, Christmas and indeed, this very New Year's Eve.

I certainly don't fault Cooper, Baldwin or Lemon for wanting to enjoy New Year's Eve. The year 2020 was objectively crummy. From a deadly pandemic and summer of riots to an especially contentious presidential election and even giant murder hornets, all Americans needed a symbolic restart—a year to start anew.

But the very same network shaming us for wanting to enjoy New Year's Eve—warning us to stay at home—garishly displayed drunken buffoonery to a national audience as if it hadn't spent the year ignoring science and data to promote mandates that destroyed lives.

When President Donald Trump takes a few hours to golf, Anderson Cooper takes a few minutes on his show to condemn him. It was a common theme last year. Cooper always told us about the seriousness of the pandemic—and he was right. It was and is serious, even when the anchor politicizes the public health emergency.

"There's people in ICUs tonight fighting for their lives, fighting for each painful breath they can get. People who should not be there because we should have worn masks more, all of us, myself included," Cooper said in November. "We should have social distanced more. We should have had leaders who took this seriously in the White House. This is what matters now."

Just over a month later, masking and social distancing seemed to matter less to Cooper.

Times Square
Confetti are flying in the air on a mostly empty Times Square for New Years Eve in New York City on January 1, 2021. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak Times Square is closed to all but a few revelers. COREY SIPKIN/AFP/Getty

Lemon, meanwhile, warned us not to visit family for Thanksgiving. Baldwin and an expert guest did the same, imploring the audience to not spend much time indoors with people they don't live with. "You have a responsibility to the community and your cut down on your interactions," the CNN expert said. Baldwin nodded approvingly.

In New York, where all CNN's New Year's Eve anchors live, nearly 74 percent of the current COVID surge is driven by small indoor private gatherings. Generally, the same statistics hold true in other hot spots. The recent surge prompted a stern PSA from Governor Andrew Cuomo.

"I know you may think, 'I'm in my house with my family and with my friends so this is my safe zone,' but that just is simply not the case anymore," Cuomo warned. "As we move forward into the winter, addressing living room spread will be one of the biggest challenges in the fight against COVID-19, and we can do it, but only if New Yorkers stay smart."

Most of us wanted to spend time with friends or family—the very thing CNN told us not to do since small gatherings are the leading cause of the COVID surge. Yet Baldwin and Lemon, along with a crew, enjoyed a casual indoor get-together.

Some media figures love to have it both ways. They will arrogantly shame normal and necessary behavior—like the simple need to leave the house and have human interaction—claiming it's important to sacrifice for the long-term public health of a nation. But not only are they unwilling to sacrifice, they flaunt it in a national broadcast.

They should get no less of a pass than the politicians who go to fancy dinner parties or out-of-state vacations while telling everyone else that the economy and schools must stay closed.

It's true that these anchors made reference to broadcasting safely; they say they got tested beforehand. But since when have sensible mitigation practices kept gatherings from being shut down? There's been a statistically insignificant number of COVID cases tied to indoor and outdoor dining, yet in many Democrat-run states, indoor dining is closed and outdoor dining is either prohibited or impossible due to weather. Gyms and movie theaters are entirely shut down, too. Study after study shows schools are not super spreaders, yet Democrat-backed teachers' unions fight to keep schools closed.

Who is fighting to give beleaguered business owners or parents desperate to send kids to school a voice? Apparently not Anderson Cooper or Don Lemon. They're busy looking for ways to criticize Trump, while overplaying the threat of the coronavirus in ways that further hurt the economy. CNN can operate safely at Lemon's house, but a restaurant can't operate with similar safety measures? A broadcast on Times Square with Cooper is somehow necessary, but sending kids to school isn't?

Jason Rantz is a frequent guest on Fox News and is the host of the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH Seattle, heard weekday afternoons. You can subscribe to his podcast here and follow him on Twitter: @jasonrantz.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.