MSNBC is going viral for warning about “the far right’s obsession with fitness” — with Elon Musk and Joe Rogan among those mocking the leftwing network’s comparison of the health craze to the Nazis.
MSNBC‘s tweet Monday re-shared a year-old op-ed by extremism expert Cynthia Miller-Idriss claiming that the “far right has taken advantage of pandemic at-home fitness trends.”
In it, she even compared some fitness influencers to how Adolf Hitler “fixated on boxing and jujitsu” to garner followers.
MSNBC’s tweet soon got more than 34 million views — and a flurry of mockery.
“Being healthy is ‘far right.’ Holy f–k,” tweeted podcaster and UFC commentator Joe Rogan, a self-styled liberal and lifetime fitness fanatic.
Twitter boss Musk — who recently started training martial arts again to take on Facebook rival Mark Zuckerberg — replied to Rogan’s message by saying that “parody & reality are becoming indistinguishable.”
“MSNBC thinks you’re a [N}azi if you work out lmaooo,” tweeted Musk, who has previously described himself as a liberal only now labeled far-right because “woke progressives” are pushing the left to extremes.
Others also joked that they were “doing white supremacy” with planned workouts.
“I was doing pushups and suddenly a swastika tattoo appeared on my chest. Weirdest thing,” one person replied to Musk. “I’m prone on the couch eating potato chips, hoping it will go away.”
Someone else asked: “If I skip leg day does that make me a Democrat?”
“I’m just trying to not be so fat y’all,” an accountant wrote alongside a gym selfie.
It was not immediately clear why MSNBC decided to again share the op-ed that was first published in March 2022.
In it, Miller-Idriss said that “neo-Nazi and white supremacist” extremists were targeting fitness fanatics by luring them “with health tips and strategies for positive physical changes.”
“Physical fitness has always been central to the far right,” wrote the MSNBC columnist, making the comparison with Hitler and “Mein Kampf.”
“The intersection of extremism and fitness leans into a shared obsession with the male body, training, masculinity, testosterone, strength and competition,” she wrote, noting an emphasis on martial arts.
“It’s championed as a tool to help fight the ‘coming race war’ and the street battles that will precede it.”
Miller-Idriss noted that “fitness of course is a staple and a hobby for many people, for whom it is enjoyable and rewarding for brain health and overall well-being. Physical fitness channels dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin in ways that literally feel good.”
However, “intertwining those feelings with hateful and dehumanizing ideas, while promoting the concept that physical warriors are needed to create the strength and dominance to defend one’s people from a perceived enemy, makes for a dangerous and powerful cocktail of radicalization,” she wrote.
“It’s critical that leaders, including parents, physical trainers, gym owners, coaches and others in the fitness world understand how online grooming and recruitment can intersect with spaces that we generally think of as promoting health and well-being.”