Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and CNN host Anderson Cooper were criticized on social media Thursday night, after viewers noticed that the two threw social distancing out the window as the cameras pulled away after carefully staying far apart during the nominee's town hall.
What are the details?
Pundit Steve Krakauer shared footage of the incident, tweeting, "Joe Biden and Anderson Cooper are making a point of social distancing during the CNN Town Hall while on the stage. But when they think they've gone to commercial break, they get so close to each other that Biden is whispering in Cooper's ear:"
Joe Biden and Anderson Cooper are making a point of social distancing during the CNN Town Hall while on the stage.… https://t.co/lqIYfFKmMW— Steve Krakauer (@Steve Krakauer)1600391142.0
Sure enough, the clip shared by Krakauer shows that after Cooper signs off for a commercial break, the cameras pull back but continue to show Biden approaching Anderson and the host leaning over as Biden appears to whisper in his ear.
Neither of them were wearing masks, which is noteworthy since Biden has repeatedly vowed that his administration would impose a federal mask mandate as long as it is legal.
The town hall was held in a parking lot and 35 cars were allowed for the "drive-in" event. CNN reported that "CNN is following all of the local guidelines and restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic," according to the vice president of its special events team, "and everybody attending and working the town hall will have their temperatures taken and will answer screening questions."
The outlet noted that in Pennsylvania, where the event was held, "wearing masks when outside of the home is mandatory."
What was the reaction on social media?
But Twitter users noticed that Biden and Cooper did not appear to be following the rules.
Several people called both men "frauds" and re-upped the common accusation that CNN is "fake news."
One person tweeted, "They are so phony. It's sad that so many people are blind to it.."
Another asked, "Can you catch Covid if the cameras aren't rolling?"
Fox News' Pete Hegseth reacted to the footage, describing it as 'mask-mandate Joe whispering sweeting nothings to @andersoncooper."
Mask-mandate Joe whispering sweet nothings to @andersoncooper. Just didn’t know the cameras were still rolling... https://t.co/o9fPB1n5FH— Pete Hegseth (@Pete Hegseth)1600390148.0
Some folks wondered exactly what the two were discussing.
Others said the moment reminded them of when CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins was caught on camera immediately removing her mask after a White House coronavirus briefing in May.
But there were those who came to Biden's and Cooper's defense, with one person tweeting, "They are both tested daily. They have to be in order to do their jobs effectively."