One nice thing about Easter is that it’s a day for prayer, quiet contemplation, gratitude and family. It’s good to have a break from the grind of politics and media outrage where everyone can decompress for a little while. Or at least that’s how it looks from the fantasy world I apparently live in. Back in real life, it was anything but. Robert Mueller found that out the hard way when he attempted to attend church services at St. John’s Episcopal church.
You might think that would be one of the places most free of poisonous politics to be found anywhere near the Beltway. You would be wrong. A reporter from MSNBC was waiting to ambush Mueller as soon as the services ended. (Washington Times)
Easter Sunday is no break from the D.C. paparazzi.
MSNBC reporter Mike Viqueira tried to ambush special counsel Robert Mueller as he left Sunday services at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, asking whether he would testify before Congress.
“No comment,” Mr. Mueller said.
“Are you sure about that, sir?” Mr. Viqueira persisted.
An expressionless Mr. Mueller replied: “No comment.”
Our friend Mickey White joined in on calling some of the current crop of MSNBC reporters paparazzi at this point, prompting National Review’s Jim Geraghty to point out the flaw in this reporter’s strategy.
Like Mueller's just going to blurt out something newsy because some reporter chases him down on the way to church…
— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) April 21, 2019
I’m old enough to remember when Democrats were telling activists to seek out their political enemies in public places like restaurants and not allow them space to live their private lives. But did that apply to the media? And even if it did, isn’t there some sort of line remaining between a restaurant and a church on Easter Sunday?
Apparently not. I’m neither a Mueller cheerleader nor attack dog. Honestly, I’d say the same thing if MSNBC had done this to Elizabeth Warren. (At least in some fictional universe where MSNBC reporters would actually do anything to upset a Democrat.) The guy was coming out of the church. On Easter. Do you really think he was in the mood to do a walk and talk interview right then? Also, he has an office you could have contacted.
Mike Viqueira apparently feels no remorse over the incident. He freely admitted that “yes, we did surprise director Mueller upon his exiting of the church.” He justified the ambush by saying that this was “the first time we have heard from Bob Mueller in quite some time.” I see. And now you’ve heard from him. You heard him say “no comment” twice. I’m sure your viewers feel incredibly well informed after that scoop.
Mueller was technically out in public at that point, so I highly doubt there were any laws broken. But don’t all of the networks – even MSNBC – have set standards in place for how their journalists go about doing their jobs? If one of Mueller’s grandchildren was about to become a parent, would the network condone Viqueira rushing into the delivery room with a cameraman and a microphone to shout out a few questions? This all just seems beyond the pale. The problem isn’t that so many of our traditional rules have gone out the window. It’s that we’re not even bothering to replace them with new rules.