- - Tuesday, April 23, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Here’s how truly detestable America’s media has become.

On Easter Sunday, MSNBC decided to ambush special counsel Robert Mueller as he attended services across from the White House at St. John’s Episcopal Church

“We knew that he was going to be, he’s been there. He’s been there in the past so we waited for him,” MSNBC reporter Mike Viqueira proudly said on air. “He came out the side door of the church. I did have a couple of prepared questions to ask him.”

Then MSNBC showed the footage.

“Sir, could I ask you a couple of questions? Will you testify before Congress, sir?” Mr. Viqueira asks Mr. Mueller, right next to him as the special counsel tries to get into his car.



“No comment,” Mr. Mueller answers. “Are you sure about that, sir?” Mr. Viqueira says. “No comment,” Mr. Mueller repeats. “If he were anybody but the president, would Mr. Trump be indicted, sir?” Mr. Viqueira says, nearly shoving the microphone into Mr. Mueller’s face. No response.

“Sir, why didn’t you make a recommendation to Congress one way or the other, sir? Did the attorney general accurately characterize your positions on conspiracy and obstruction, sir?”

Mr. Mueller again stays mum, then climbs into his car and nearly closes the door on Mr. Viqueira and his mic.

The shot cuts back to Mr. Viqueira, now outside the White House. “I think it’s accurate to characterize director Mueller as being tight-lipped to my questions,” Mr. Viqueira says, smiling smugly. MSNBC host Joy Reid can be heard laughing at the reporter’s incredible wit.

Condemnation for the episode of “ambush journalism” was universal, but actress Patricia Heaton had the perfect tweet.

“Hello @MSNBC,” the “Everybody Loves Raymond” actress tweeted. “Today is Easter Sunday, the holiest day of the Christian calendar. Some of the faithful were murdered today while they worshiped. But you ambush Robert Mueller outside of his church and chuckle about it afterward. This is loathesome. Shame on you.”

Others joined in on Twitter.

“@MSNBC just proved itself to be the ‘human troll network’ and is also doubling down apparently proud of this grotesque display of human indecency after a worship service on a spiritual holiday,” one user tweeted. “This harassment outside Easter service is outrageous. @MSNBC often typifies the very worst of the dismal state of ‘journalism’ in America today. Fourth Estate, please do better!” another tweeted.

“And then they LAUGHED after they shared their clip on the air. WOW,” a third tweeted.

The ambush came after Mr. Mueller’s long-awaited report failed to establish any “smoking gun” in allegations that President Trump or members of his campaign had colluded with Russia to alter the outcome of the 2016 election.

Before the report, the mainstream media blasted the trumped-up charges for more than two years. “The noose is tightening,” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said. “Does the public understand just how much trouble the president is in? If not, that is a failing of the press,” CNN’s Brian Stelter said. “There is tons of proof of potential collusion,” CNN’s Chris Cuomo said. Mr. Trump was investigated for 675 days by Mr. Mueller and a team of 19 lawyers. Despite 2,800 subpoenas and 500 witness interviews, the counsel’s office found no evidence “that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate” conspired or “knowingly coordinated” with the Russians.

With that, poof, the story fell apart. Yes, angry Democrats in Congress will demand testimony from top administration officials, subpoena reams of documents, and perhaps even pursue impeachment. But the failure of Mr. Mueller — who had been widely praised by the liberal media and Democrats for being a fair and impartial judge — means the story is, at least in the minds of most American voters, over.

The real fallout, though, will come for the media. They had hyped this story, often with unnamed sources and virtually no real “facts” for so long that giving it up will be next to impossible. And so far, they’ve learned nothing from the debacle. CNN President Jeff Zucker said in an email to The New York Times that he was “entirely comfortable” with CNN’s Trump-Russia coverage, adding that the “news” network was simply reporting “facts.”

For his part, CNN’s Mr. Stelter said “speculation actually has value, too. It helps open our eyes, helps open our minds to what’s possible.”

That’s where America’s media is today: They’re speculators. They all come with a viewpoint (even though the dishonest, like Mr. Zucker and Mr. Stelter, say they are “journalists”) and they don’t much care about “facts.”

Which is exactly what Mr. Trump has been saying for years. On Tuesday, he went even further.

“I wonder if the New York Times will apologize to me a second time, as they did after the 2016 Election. But this one will have to be a far bigger & better apology. On this one they will have to get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness-they are truly the Enemy of the People!” he tweeted.

Don’t hold your breath, Mr. President.

• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @josephcurl.

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