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CNN condemned for comparing Sanders to coronavirus

There is a long and ugly history of blaming Jewish people for creating and spreading diseases.


Eilish O'Sullivan


MSNBC was under fire last week for its apparent negative coverage of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) during the Nevada caucuses. Viewers called on the network to fire host Chris Matthews after he compared Sanders’ Nevada victory to the Nazi invasion of France. Then, an MSNBC pundit lost air time for saying that the women of color on Sanders’ campaign team are an “island of misfit Black girls.”

The network seemingly handed off the controversy baton to CNN, because CNN is now under fire for comparing Sanders’ momentum to the spread of the coronavirus.

On Saturday, host Michael Smerconish made the analogy in a segment with the chyron, “Can Either Coronavirus or Bernie Sanders Be Stopped?”

“An already unpredictable presidential campaign just became more so. A list of intangibles which included the impact of impeachment, a large Democratic field, congested candidate lanes, and the looming prospect of no one getting the majority of delegates needed to secure the nomination before the convention now includes the spread of a deadly virus,” Smerconish said.

CNN posted the clip to Twitter, but not before removing the “Can Either Coronavirus or Bernie Sanders Be Stopped?” chyron. A CNN spokesperson told Deadline that “the banner was wholly inappropriate and a mistake. We are addressing internally.”

Many who caught the moment in real-time, or saw it circulating on social media, were quick to remind CNN in the comments what the original segment looked like.

“Nice edit. Does that mean you’ll be apologizing?” the People for Bernie Twitter account asked.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has killed nearly 3,000 people and infected more than 85,000 others. One person in the U.S. has died, with a prospective U.S. outbreak on the horizon. Sanders is Jewish, and there is a long and ugly history of blaming Jewish people for creating and spreading diseases, leading many to call CNN out for the apparent antisemitism.

“@cnn @smerconish needs to apologize immediately for comparing a Jewish person to a disease. This is stopping pretty low to put this antisemitism on national TV,” Twitter user @flipper_nipple wrote.

The Daily Dot has reached out to CNN.


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