New York Times White House correspondent Annie Karni appeared on CNN and sparked outrage on social media after reportedly quoting a resident who called those at former President Obama’s birthday bash a “sophisticated, vaccinated crowd.”
Hundreds attended Obama’s 60th birthday party over the weekend. It was full of celebrities allegedly getting high, dancing, and partying the night away… maskless and in close proximity.
“Other people said, you know, this has really been overblown, they’re following all the safety precautions, people are going to sporting events that are bigger than this, this is going to be safe, this is a sophisticated, vaccinated crowd and this is just about optics it’s not about safety,” Karni told CNN’s anchor Jim Acosta.
Her comments follow those of Dr. Anthony Fauci who hypocritically chastised the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota over the weekend as a potential superspreader event but said nothing about Barack Obama’s much-criticized Martha’s Vineyard 60th birthday bash.
"a sophisticated, vaccinated crowd" pic.twitter.com/qzh3glcQTQ
— Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) August 8, 2021
“A lot of the celebrities kept their invites and a lot of the former administration officials who really credit themselves with helping the former president having built this legacy that allows him to fit in so comfortably with the A-list stars were cut,” Karni said referring to the scaling back of the event. “There is some hard feelings and some disappointment that this is the way it’s turning out.”
A CNN graphic highlighted a number of those who lost their invites including Larry David, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and David Axelrod. Some of the selected guests who were still “in” included Jay-Z, Beyonce, Tom Hanks, and Eddie Vedder.
She added: “As we’ve seen celebrities arrive on the island, the tabloids have some pictures of the tent in the back of the Obamas’ $12 million mansion. It looks quite large. When they say they scaled it back to be family and close friends, it’s not a 12-person gathering. It looks like it could be a few hundred.”
Karni’s phrasing of “sophisticated, vaccinated crowd” was slammed by many on social media, including by journalist Glenn Greenwald who tweeted, “A NYT reporter on CNN justifying Obama’s huge maskless birthday bash because he only invited ‘a sophisticated, vaccinated crowd’ is about as emblematic of liberal discourse as it gets. What happened to all the concerns about vaccinated people passing Delta to the unvaccinated? Yes, it’s a pandemic and a crisis, but let the sophisticated people have their fun!”
Yes, it's a pandemic and a crisis, but let the sophisticated people have their fun!
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 8, 2021
Others piled on in outrage over the apparent elitist attitude.
“Of course viruses don’t attack sophisticated people, Muffy!” attorney Harmeet K. Dhillon quipped.
Of course viruses don’t attack sophisticated people, Muffy! 🦠 https://t.co/l50zvvLZYG
— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) August 8, 2021
“Someone really should inform Annie Karni what certain parts of Hollywood thinks of vaccines,” The Spectator contributor Stephen L. Miller noted on Twitter.
Someone really should inform Annie Karni what certain parts of Hollywood thinks of vaccines.
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) August 8, 2021
Karni defended herself on Twitter by pointing out that the “sophisticated, vaccinated crowd” phrase came directly from a resident she was quoting.
“Watch the full clip,” Karni defensively tweeted. “The Q was, what do people on the island think of the party? The A was me summarizing views of ppl I spoke with: some are upset, + others think the concerns about it are overblown. ‘Sophisticated crowd’ was from a quote in the story.”
Watch the full clip.
The Q was, what do people on the island think of the party? The A was me summarizing views of ppl I spoke with: some are upset, + others think the concerns about it are overblown. "Sophisticated crowd" was from a quote in the story:https://t.co/IZTRj6kU2H https://t.co/IWJbbF4CnJ
— Annie Karni (@anniekarni) August 8, 2021
Obama’s birthday party was allegedly scaled back due to public perception and the delta variant, but hundreds of people were still in attendance, and pictures were prohibited. Photos leaked nonetheless of a massive tent, Barack Obama, and maskless attendees partying for all they were worth.
The gathering was outdoors, a negative COVID test was required, and being vaccinated was recommended but not required.
There was widespread outrage on Twitter over the stunningly hypocritical characterization of those who attended Obama’s birthday gala:
I guess from now on, the virus will be asking if you’ve read War and Peace before it infects you. If you are sophisticated enough to have read it, you’ll get a pass.
— Mehdi Farbod (@Mehdi_Farbod) August 8, 2021
Oh that explains it. As long as you are rich and sophisticated, you are safe from Covid. All the rest of us lower level citizens must practice social distancing.
— Lain C (@LainC14) August 8, 2021
As opposed to the unvaccinated basket of deplorables?
— Fweedom isn’t on a switch (@TuneLuvr) August 8, 2021
And the party was extremely bad optics given the lockdowns and the pandemic fear-mongering:
Blue check public health Twitter doesn’t seem the least bit concerned about large gatherings at Obama’s house party.
— Cernovich (@Cernovich) August 7, 2021
Obama didn’t REALLY downsize his party because he’s ALWAYS thought he was better than the people he served.
— Lavern Spicer (@lavern_spicer) August 7, 2021
Climate czar John Kerry took a private jet to be at Obama's birthday party.
They tell you to ride bikes because climate change and keep you in lockdown while they party and fly private jets.
— PeterSweden (@PeterSweden7) August 7, 2021
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