Reporters and contributors from MSNBC attempted to shame Florida’s spring break tourism boom — with a photograph from a year before the coronavirus pandemic began.
“Today’s center of the #COVIDIOTS universe is Miami Beach, Florida,” MSNBC analyst and University of Miami professor Fernand R. Amandi tweeted Sunday morning. Accompanying the message was a picture of a crowded Miami Beach. What Amandi did not realize at the time was that the picture was from a March 22, 2019, story — a full year before the global coronavirus pandemic began.
— Fernand R. Amandi (@AmandiOnAir) March 21, 2021
“If you insist on being #COVIDIOTS please #WearAMask for our sake,” he added a few minutes later.
The tweet spread across social media, and Amandi’s peers quickly joined in. “That literally looks like a microscopic image of a petrie dish,” MSNBC’s AM Joy host Joy-Ann Reid tweeted that evening.
Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication Professor Dr. Jason Johnson shared the tweet, holding it up as an example of “why schools won’t open again this fall.” At of the time of this writing, the tweet has been shared over 3,600 times on Twitter alone, garnering upward of 10,000 likes.
That literally looks like a microscopic image of a petrie dish… https://t.co/XLg5H1ygXR
— Joy-Ann Pro-Democracy & Masks Reid 😷 (@JoyAnnReid) March 22, 2021
Other users quickly corrected Amandi. User @AGHamilton29 pointed out the error early Monday morning. “Pretty confident that the center of the #COVIDIOT universe are Twitter accounts that post pictures from 2019 to try to shame people for engaging in normal and safe activities,” he said.
Former National Republican Senatorial Committee member Matt Whitlock responded to the tweet by calling out MSNBC, saying “your analyst is spreading disinformation” and observing that “misinformation just flows through MSNBC like water” later that morning. Spectator contributor and Vs Media Podcast host Stephen L. Miller predicted “nothing will happen” to Amandi’s account.
Misinformation just flows through MSNBC like water.
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) March 22, 2021
By Monday morning, Amandi admitted the mistake. “It has come to my attention that the picture in the original tweet is not from this week,” he said, “but that does not change the fact that Miami Beach has been overrun by thousands of maskless Spring Breakers who are not abiding by the CDC pandemic guidelines as these other photos confirm.” The correction has been shared just over 110 times.