John Barry, the author of The Great Influenza, was repeatedly interrupted by a goofy ringtone as he attempted to answer serious questions about the coronavirus pandemic during an interview on MSNBC, Tuesday.
As Barry was introduced by MSNBC host Chuck Todd as “maybe the world’s foremost expert in at least studying pandemics,” and asked him to compare today’s coronavirus crisis to the 1918 Spanish Flu, Barry was able to only get out a few words in response before his phone started ringing — playing a goofy organ tune.
“Sorry about that,” Barry remarked, rejecting the call.
“That’s okay, I think a lot of our viewers have a lot of patience these days,” replied Todd. “We’re all learning these different video devices.”
“Let me ask you then this question: the issue of reopening the economy, this was an issue back then. I mean in some ways, some of the issues that politicians ran into in 1918 and 1919 are the same things we’re seeing play out now,” Todd questioned. “I mean the more things change, the more they stay the same.”
“That’s exactly right. The biggest…” answered Barry, before his phone started ringing again, continuing the goofy organ music. “God. I am so sorry.”
Todd commented, “That’s alright… Let me let you get one more shot at that.”
Barry then declared, “This is probably the worst interview I’ve ever had. I really apologize for that because I forgot the question trying to turn the phone off.”
“We will start it over,” assured Todd. “We will start it over.”
A few minutes later, as the interview ended, Barry concluded, “Thank you, and sorry about that phone.”
“You know what? It happens and I think hopefully it makes us all smile and it can be a charming thing at the end of the day,” Todd said. “We got the information that matters the most, so thank you sir.”
Watch the full clip below via MSNBC.
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