CNBC’s Sorkin and Kernen get into heated exchange on-air over coronavirus crisis [Video]


  • CNBC Squawk Box anchors Andrew Ross Sorkin and Joe Kernen threw barbs against each other on-air over COVID-19 coverage on Wednesday.
  • Kernen accused Sorkin of being “pessimistic”, overly panicking about anything with regard to the pandemic.
  • Sorkins fired back at Kernen, saying all he did was to “help his friend, the president” and accused him of abusing his position.

During the Wednesday airing of CNBC Squawk Box, anchors Andrew Ross Sorkin and Joe Kernen got in a heated on-air argument about the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are reacting to the crisis.

The fierce debate began when Kernen said that Sorkin had a series of overreactions because of his continuous panicking about the coronavirus crisis — further accusing him of being pessimistic about the markets during a segment on S&P 500 and Nasdaq’s recent spikes.

Sorkin defended with how “a lot of smart people” was actually asking how the stock market could rise amid the current economic situation.

“Why is that the smart people?” They’ve been wrong for 35%! Why are they smart? Just because they can see what’s right in front of their nose? That doesn’t make them smart!” Kernen said.

Sorkin then responded, “Joe, you missed it 100% on the way down too! You missed it 100% on the way down! And you missed 100,000 deaths!”

As Kernen began interpollating, Sorkin raised his voice. 

“Hold on! Hold on! Hold on!” Sorkin said. “I’m not going to do this with you, Joe! Every morning you try to question the questions I am asking! These are questions that investors are asking every single morning. I am just trying to get through some of this clutter.”

After a few silent moments, Kernen responded and said, “You panicked about the market, panicked about COVID, panicked about the ventilators, panicked about the PPE, panicked about ever going out again, panicked if we’d ever get back to normal.”

Looking visibly mad, Sorkin lashed out at Kernen and said: “You didn’t panic about anything! 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 you have used and abused your position, Joe. You have used and abused your position,” he argued.

Kernen defended himself, calling Sorkin’s characterization of his position “totally unfair.” 

“I’m trying to help the investors keep their cool,” Kernen explained. Then the exchange ended as Kernen moved on and read the headlines.

As of Wednesday morning, the network’s spokespersons did not respond to a request for comment.


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