MSNBC's Joe Scarborough blasted President Donald Trump's media allies for pushing to reopen the economy and exposing millions of workers to new coronavirus infections.
The "Morning Joe" called out Rush Limbaugh for urging his listeners to return to work from his home studio in Florida, when he would almost certainly not be willing to expose himself to the virus.
"All these Trump talking heads that are saying we should reopen the economy now, that it is all a hoax — hey, Rush Limbaugh, go to your local Publix and bag groceries," Scarborough said. "If you think it's such a great idea, if you think it is such a great idea to reopen the economy, you can lead by example by going to a grocery store and bagging groceries. You can do it today."
"There are other people at other news outlets that say one thing on the air and, yet, do something completely different off the air regarding the economy," he added. "Saying, oh, it's a — you know what? If you think the economy should be opened up, why don't you go out and go out unprotected, without a mask. Do whatever you think we should do. You go out and bag groceries, or go out and pump gas. You know, I know and you know you're not going to do that. You're purposefully trying to amp your ratings by attacking doctors, like Dr. [Anthony] Fauci, by attacking science."
Limbaugh and other conservative media figures are risking their audience's lives by urging them to return to work before the outbreak widespread testing is available and the outbreak can be contained, he said.
"You think it'll help with your ratings," Scarborough said. "You're telling Americans to go out and do things that will kill them, that will kill their loved ones, that will kill senior citizens, and you're doing it for ratings. But you won't do it yourself, so if you're not willing to go out and work in an office with hundreds of people around you, don't tell other people to do that, because it's just — it's not only hypocrisy, it is also deadly advice."
Those same media figures already bear responsibility for some of the coronavirus deaths so far, Scarborough said, because they downplayed the threat instead of encouraging listeners to trust the warnings and take precautions.
"You were going along with the president during that time," he said, "giving senior citizens bad advice, giving the children of senior citizens bad advice, giving the grandchildren of senior citizens bad advice, giving false security that ended up, yes, we can say this, that ended up killing thousands of people who didn't get the message soon enough. So maybe you should just shut up right now and let the doctors and let the scientists and let the medical experts do everything they can do to save the lives of senior citizens."
"We're talking about Republican senior citizens, I'm talking about saving the lives of Democratic senior citizens, I'm talking about saving the lives of conservative senior citizens," Scarborough added. "I'm actually talking about saving the lives of the very people who make up the heart of your audience. You need to shut up, stop talking about rushing straight into the economy because you're going to kill more people."