Wolf Blitzer is probably a religious believer.
The CNN anchor recently interviewed a survivor of the Moore, OK, tornado, Rebecca Vitsmun. The interview is quite lovely. Wolf playfully interacts with the baby in Ms. Vitsmun’s arms–everyone loves babies on camera–while they chat about the terrible ordeal that was this tornado, and Ms. Vitsmun’s decision to leave rather than stay in her home.
Anyway. Upon the conclusion of the interview, Mr. Blitzer declares the Vitsmun family “blessed”. Rebecca is blessed, her husband Brian is blessed, and baby Anders is blessed. It’s a moving sentiment with which to end the segment. But it doesn’t end.
Instead, Blitzer says, “you gotta thank the Lord, right?” And it seems a little forced and awkward for Wolf. They smile. Then, even more awkwardly, Wolf asks her: “Do you thank the Lord for that split-second decision?”
I’m bothered by this. It strikes me as completely inappropriate. Why, though, I can’t quite pin down. Perhaps there’s no legitimate reason for this question to annoy me. Maybe I’m being a pain in the ass muckraker (the kind that *some* Christians in the US are always complaining about), and there’s every reason to assume that an American woman in Oklahoma does in fact thank the Lord for surviving a tornado. It’s totally reasonable, appropriate and moving for Wolf Blitzer to thank the Lord for this woman and her family surviving a terrible ordeal of this tornado.
But asking her to “do you thank the Lord” on live television? That’s, well, it’s stupid. It’s presumptive. It’s the kind of direct question that in a soft segment piece like this is best avoided unless you know what the answer is going to be. Because if you get the unexpected answer, everything could go to pot.
CNN wanted to talk to Rebecca, so Wolf Blitzer interviewed her. You made cute with her very adorable baby, and discussed her incredible personal experience. Her relief and joy is evident in her smile, and voice, and baby. If that’s not enough for you, well, CNN, you’ve got a problem.
Anyway. Rebecca is a class act and nothing went to pot here. She clearly is not thrown by someone assuming she would thank God for her survival, and her kindness in response is touching. Says Ms. Vitsmun: “I…well, I am actually an atheist. But, we are here. And I don’t blame anybody for thanking the lord.”
Amen to that, Rebecca.