No, Bernie Won’t Be Skydiving

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Some stories, it seems, are too entertaining to fact check. The Internet has lit up with speculation that Bernie Sanders might make a dramatic entrance at a rally in Cloverdale, California, later today by skydiving.

Sadly, it looks like that will not happen. “No, the senator will not be skydiving into the rally today,” Symone Sanders, a campaign spokesperson not related to the candidate, said when reached by phone and asked about rumors that he might do just that.

Speculation started after The Press Democrat published an article suggestively headlined: “Skydiving outfit in contact with Bernie Sanders’ campaign for Cloverdale rally.” The article reported that Jimmy Halliday, identified as “president and jumpmaster at NorCal Skydiving,” said that “he had been told by Sanders staffers Thursday that they would offer the 74-year-old Vermont senator the option of parachuting into the rally site.”

When asked about the specific claims made in the article, Symone Sanders replied: “We get in touch with lots of people for lots of different things all over the place … we make a lot of phone calls, sometimes things pan out, sometimes we’re just calling to check, sometimes it’s just a hunch. I didn’t personally call anybody to ask about skydiving, so I can tell you I didn’t make any phone calls, but we do make a lot of different phone calls.”

Will Bernie ever go skydiving? I asked that, too, for reasons of journalistic integrity. “I don’t know,” Symone said. “I don’t know about any additional plans for skydiving, I just know that he won’t be jumping out of a plane, he won’t be skydiving into Cloverdale.”

It seems like Sanders won’t be taking up the mantle of George H.W. Bush who opted to celebrate his 90th birthday by partaking in a tandem skydive.

Update: Alan, Caroline, and Rosa bring you the next best thing.