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Explosive on-air blow up on CNBC shows how real the anger is over masks and lockdowns

CNBC had a blowup on-air Friday morning between Rick Santelli, a CNBC on-air editor who frequently appears on the network from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and commentator Andrew Ross Sorkin, a financial columnist with the New York Times. Santelli blasted Sorkin for saying that wearing masks are backed up by science.

Sorkin flat-out accused Santelli of doing a “disservice to the viewer” by suggesting that restrictions on indoor dining at restaurants should be lifted.

“You’re doing a disservice to the viewer! You are. You are!” Santelli angrily shouted back.

“I’m sorry, I would like to keep our viewers as healthy as humanly possible,” Sorkin smugly replied.

“The idea of packing people in restaurants…” Sorkin said before Santelli interrupted his diatribe.

“I think our viewers are smart enough to make part of those decisions on their own,” Santelli said.

The fight began when Santelli shredded governors in several states for forcing restaurants to shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic while allowing brick-and-mortar stores to remain open.

Santelli was speaking during a panel discussion with five other talking heads about possible new lockdowns in the face of surging case numbers nationwide. He was incensed that these liberal governors wantonly violated their mandates during the pandemic by dining out with large groups of people.

“When I point out governors cheating, it’s not for the hypocrisy, which definitely exists,” Santelli stated. “It’s the fact that many of these governors are intelligent people and they love their families, which they’ve taken out into restaurants.”

He also pointed out the “ongoing debate as to why a parking lot for a big box store like by my house is jam-packed – not one parking spot open…Why are those people any safer than [diners in] a restaurant with plexiglass?”

Santelli said, “I just don’t get it.”

Santelli got progressively more incensed as the segment went on: “You can’t tell me that shutting down, which is the easiest answer, is necessarily the only answer.”

Sorkin snapped back at Santelli over this.

“Rick, just as a public health and public service announcement for the audience, the difference between a big box retailer…” Sorkin said as Santelli cut him off.

“Who is this?” Santelli queried.

Sorkin was intent on controlling the narrative and held out his hand in an attempt to silence Santelli.

“The difference between a big box retailer, and a restaurant or frankly even a church, are so different it’s unbelievable,” Sorkin retorted.

It was obvious Santelli was furious as he nodded his head and crossed his arms.

Santelli then erupted: “I disagree, I disagree. I disagree. You can have your thoughts, and I can have mine.”

Sorkin shot back: “You’re required to wear a mask. It’s science. I’m sorry, it’s science.”

Santelli slammed him: “It’s not science. Five hundred people in a mall aren’t any safer than 150 people in a restaurant that holds 600. I don’t believe it. Sorry, I don’t believe it. And I live in an area where there are a lot of restaurants that have fought back and they don’t have any problems and they’re open.”

Sorkin then resorted to accusing Santelli of harming public health.

“Well you don’t have to believe it, but you’re doing a disservice to the viewer,” Sorkin snarked.

Santelli hit back, “You’re doing a disservice to the viewer. You are. You are.”

Another CNBC panelist, Steve Liesman, then sneered at Santelli: “How’s that working out for you Rick, look at the numbers.”

To which Santelli replied: “It’s working out fine, Rick. It’s working out fine.”

Santelli said that while the COVID-19 pandemic was causing death and was a “horrible thing,” he added: “I just think the way we deal with it isn’t optimal.”

Finally, anchor Melissa Lee called for a truce.

“I think if we spent the rest of the show talking about this there would be no agreement, so let’s move on,” she said.

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