NYT reporter says Obama’s party was low COVID-19 risk for the ‘sophisticated vaccinated crowd’

A New York Times reporter suggested that Barack Obama’s star-studded 60th birthday bash wasn’t a high Covid risk because of the “sophisticated, vaccinated” guests who attended.

Annie Karni, a White House correspondent for the Times, had been discussing the controversy surrounding Obama’s celebration in Martha’s Vineyard with CNN on Sunday when the fallout began. During a segment discussing the controversy surrounding Obama’s much-criticized Martha’s Vineyard celebration, Karni insisted that although the former President was spotted not wearing a mask the guests overall were “following all the safety precautions.”

She then explained that residents on the island of Martha’s Vineyard where the party was being held had confirmed that there were various factors at play that made COVID concerns very low at the event. “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 stated in the clip.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald was amongst those who questioned why Karni and people like her weren’t more concerned about Obama’s bash. “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,” Greenwald tweeted. “What happened to all the concerns about vaccinated people passing delta to the unvaccinated?” He added: “Yes, it’s a pandemic and a crisis, but let the sophisticated people have their fun!”

Following the condemnation, Karni Tweeted out a response regarding her statements by noting that the word “sophisticated” was actually a direct quote from one of the locals she spoke to and that she was only conveying the beliefs and feelings of the people on the island. “Watch the full clip,” Karni tweeted in direct response to Greenwald’s original critique. “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.”

In regards to Obama’s take on the message his birthday party sent, he previously said the gathering which was initially going to entertain over 500 people, was ultimately “scaled back” to a much more intimate guest list due to the spread of the delta variant.



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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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