We live in a culture that loves to see the ambushing of public figures. Witness the success of TMZ and its tactics of peppering celebrities with questions out in public. Take the phenomenon to politics, and think about the glee with which conservatives watch people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez squirm when journalists and others demand answers to questions on the fly.
These days, public figures can’t escape the occasional harangue at the hands of a reporter, but are there times and places that should be off limits? Do the media go too far in pursuing the story? The answer to both questions is a resounding and emphatic YES, and the latest example involves Robert Mueller.
On Easter Sunday, as Mueller was leaving church, MSNBC reporter Mike Viqueira confronted him and began peppering him with questions as he headed to his car.
On the surface, Viqueira’s behavior is just tacky, and that’s probably what I would call it the other 51 Sundays of the year. But yesterday was Easter, a truly important and holy day for Christians (or “Easter worshippers,” if you prefer). Easter is such an important part of the Christian calendar that folks who may not go to church any other time show up that Sunday.
It didn’t seem to phase Viqueira that he bothered Mueller on the holiest Sunday of the year, because the reporter talked about the exchange rather matter-of-factly:
“We had a camera crew waiting outside. It was, of course, Easter service. And, yes, we did surprise director Mueller upon his exiting of the church,” Viqueira said. “But nevertheless, that’s the first time we have heard from Bob Mueller in quite some time, even if his only comment was no comment.”
I’d say it was a surprise, because nobody expects to walk out of church after an Easter Sunday service to a hack reporter haranguing them as they walk to the car. Here’s a news flash to the media: some public figures don’t want to make politics an idol. Some of them worship a God that isn’t politics, and that faith is important to them – as is their right to worship both freely and in relative peace.
There’s a time and a place for media ambushes, and Sunday ain’t it. Especially Easter Sunday.