29 Feb, 2020
Radio personality and CNN host Michael Smerconish thought it fitting to compare Bernie Sanders and his surge in the Democratic polls to the coronavirus outbreak. The remark has sparked massive online anger and a storm of mockery.
Smerconish made the outlandish comparison while discussing the prospects of the Democratic forerunner in South Carolina – the last of the four early states – which is voting in the Democratic primaries on Saturday.
“Can either coronavirus or Bernie Sanders be stopped?” the host wondered.
— Jordan (@JordanChariton) February 29, 2020
The comparison between Sanders and the virus – which has killed nearly 3,000 globally – was apparently deemed to be fine by the network, since it also appeared in the channel’s chyron.
The presenter’s ‘unconventional’ way of describing Sanders’ solid lead in the Democratic polls has since been met with an overwhelmingly negative reaction online, with many condemning the remark’s extremely poor taste.
Jesus, cnn, do better. https://t.co/t8Mfbur6tW
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) February 29, 2020
"Can either Coronavirus or Bernie Sanders be stopped?"
This is where media pundits put the most racially diverse coalition of working class people: in the same category as a viral disease pic.twitter.com/IWzrfSVAgA
— Nikola (@niktaylorde) February 29, 2020
While many were outraged and lashed out at the blunder, others chose to bombard CNN with mockery and jokes.
Centrists unsure they can support Sanders in the general, believe Coronavirus more electable despite "regrettable" past transgressions
— Flannel Man 💀 (@legitimateacct) February 29, 2020
OMG! I just heard that BERNIE SANDERS causes CORONAVIRUS! PASS IT ON!
— michael konkol (@michaelkonkol3) February 29, 2020
Some even insisted that the abilities of Sanders deserve more credit than some puny virus.
They are unstoppable. Sanders is gonna run the table like the corona virus 🦠
— IMPEACHED (@rongoodis) February 29, 2020
Yes but unlike coronavirus #Bernie2020 is unstoppable
— Vengeful One (@2thon) February 29, 2020
Even the ever-reliable anti-Semitism card has been invoked, with critics arguing that the comparison of a Jewish candidate to a virus closely resembles the propaganda purveyed by Nazi Germany. Ironically, Sanders’ opponents have repeatedly accused the candidate of being an anti-Semite over his criticism of Israel’s policies and support for the creation of a Palestinian state.
CNN just used a chyron comparing @BernieSanders to the coronavirus.
DO NOT compare a Jewish presidential candidate to a disease.
— Bend the Arc: Jewish Action (@jewishaction) February 29, 2020