When Andrew Ross Sorkin isn’t interviewing billionaires to get their brilliant ideas on why we shouldn’t tax them or writing hypocritical pleas to protect executives over workers, he’s usually hosting business shows like Squawk Box on CNBC. The triumvirate of hosts consists of Andrew Ross Sorkin representing what many on the right believe to be the bleeding heart New York Times, Becky Quick representing the objective middle, and Joe Kernen representing the right—and mostly the Trump administration. Kernen has been pushing for reopening the economy, downplaying the seriousness of the global pandemic, and then being wrong every day for the past few years.
During Wednesday’s show, Kernen went in on Sorkin’s and others’ questions about our strange economy, which surges while tens of millions of people are out of work and the earliest prognostications of returning to normal public health measures are no fewer than 12 months away. Kernen decided to use the gaslighting technique that has worked for Trump and others, telling Sorkin that he’s been this pessimistic Chicken Little figure who has “panicked” about everything. Telling Sorkin that he and others have been wrong “35%” of the time. This 35% number aside, Sorkin—who as frustrated as anyone with being fed this load of bullshit for three years—finally snapped.
ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: Joe. Joe! You missed it 100% on the way down and you missed 100,000 deaths. We can have this debate, and try to question the questions I’m asking—
Kernen begins to interrupt here and pretend he’s a snowflake with feelings, but Sorkin isn’t going to do this anymore.
SORKIN: Hold on, hold on! I’m not going do this with you, Joe. Every morning, you try to question the questions I’m asking. These are questions that investors are asking every single morning. I’m trying to get through some of this clutter. I may be right or wrong. Investors may be right, they may be wrong. That makes the market. It doesn’t make people good or bad or right to act the way you are—I’m sorry.
Kernen once again started whining about how much Sorkin is yelling at people. It was a real weak and cowardly attempt to undercut what Sorkin was pointing out about Kernen’s bogus style of punditry. Sorkin told Kernen to get back to the news, but Kernen couldn’t do that—mostly because he was butthurt—so he started calling Sorkin “panicked,” at which point Sorkin really lost it.
SORKIN: Joseph, you didn’t panic about anything! 100,000 people died, Joe—
JOE KERNEN: I understand.
SORKIN:—100,000 people died, Joe, and all you did was try to help your friend the president. That’s what you did. Every single morning on this show. Every single morning, you abused your position, Joe. You have used and abused your position.
Kernen attempted to promote his fake information argument, implying that Sorkin is panicking stock market investors, which is something that the stock market does all by itself along with a global pandemic and Great Depression-levels of unemployment.
SORKIN: I wasn’t arguing to go sell your stocks, Joseph, I was arguing about people’s lives!
Sorkin shook his head and then begged Kernen to just read the news. Guys like Sorkin are having a very difficult time right now because they know the market is inflated and that without serious government intervention, there is going to be a brutal reckoning. Sorkin’s frustrations with Kernen are the fact that Kernen is clearly just pretending that everything is fine right now. Kernen is in essence pretending that as long as we keep walking on air and not looking down, we won’t realize there is no ground beneath us and won’t plummet to Earth. Like our current administration and Republican party, Kernen is hoping the illusion can be maintained long enough to get re-elected in November.