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MSNBC Cameraman Gets Called Out During Live Broadcast For Not Wearing Mask As Reporter Comments On Lack Of Mask-Wearers

MSNBC video via @ClayTravis; @Deana921/Twitter

MSNBC Cameraman Gets Called Out During Live Broadcast For Not Wearing Mask As Reporter Comments On Lack Of Mask-Wearers
MSNBC video via @ClayTravis; @Deana921/Twitter

The thing about wearing face masks, as we've been told time and time again, is they only work if everyone—or everyone who can—wears them.

So if you're going to lecture people about not wearing face masks... you kinda gotta make sure you and everyone with you is wearing masks.

Unfortunately that sensible rule slipped past an MSNBC crew shooting in Wisconsin this past weekend with only some of its members masked. A passerby they tried to call out for not wearing a mask ended up calling them out instead—live, and on-camera.

MSNBC reporter Cal Perry was doing a live update from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin where scores of people were not only out and about for the Memorial Day weekend but seemed to not be taking any precautions. As an unmasked passerby, Andy Olson, walked up, Cal gestured toward the man as an example of the fact that no one was wearing a mask.

Olson immediately shot back:

"Including your cameraman."

To which Perry, stymied, could only reply:

"There ya go, including the camerman."

Naturally, right-wing media figures immediately seized upon the video clip as an example of media hypocrisy.

Speaking to HuffPost, an NBC—parent company of MSNBC—spokesperson explained that the cameraman had a scarf tied around his face, but it had fallen while shooting and he was unable to adjust it during the live shot.

A video of the incident posted by Olson's wife shows a different story: a crew of four, two of whom are masked and two of whom are not.

The videos immediately went viral, mainly among right-wing social media users and media figures, including a retweet by the President's son, Donald Trump Jr.

Olson, who is from Bolingbrook, Illinois told his hometown paper TheBugle that the incident exposed "hypocrisy."

"This is not about me, it is about getting the truth out there and exposing some of these people for what they are.... [H]e turned the camera on me and tried to shame me and it backfired on him big time. It exposed him for his hypocrisy."
"Before they went live, they were congregated together within a couple feet of each other, there was no social distancing... so why is he calling out people on the street and mask shaming them?"

On Twitter, right-wing voices had an absolute field day.

For his part, Mr. Olson is happy to comply with rules on mask-wearing where required.

As he told TheBugle:

"I won't bash anybody for wearing a mask. If someone wants to—that's fine. I will wear one in the stores in Illinois because its required even though I don't agree with it."

Let's hope this doesn't happen again.

If you're going to advocate for masks or call attention to others for not wearing them, please follow your own rules folks.