Before a holiday hiatus ABC’s political drama “Scandal” left us hanging with the fictional President Fitzgerald Grant fighting for his life in the hospital and his conniving vice president assuming the position as commander in chief. The second season resumed last night with a conspiracy to return power to the president, despite him still being in a coma.
As part of the plot, Olivia Pope, a crisis manager, asks one of her aides to tip off a popular cable news show host that Pope was seen leaving the hospital where the president is staying.
“You have to give me something, anything. Off the record at least,” Kimberley Mitchells, the cable news host, says to Pope after tracking her down.
“He’s in remarkable shape,” Pope lies to Mitchells about President Grant. “But he’s not going to go public until the [gunshot] wound on his head is a little more healed, until the hair grows back.” Pope adds that the first lady “thinks he’s a little vain.”
Even if it was off the record, it’s a microscopic detail that today’s news media would latch onto and publish quicker than Pat Robertson can offend… well, anyone, assuming they’re able to hear him talk.
But no. Mitchells holds onto the story, waiting instead for the chance to interview the first lady about it.
Here’s how it would happen in real life…
A newswoman like MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, always ready to cite her “sources” on air, would immediately break into regularly scheduled programming with an update on the president’s condition, placing emphasis on the fact that he’s bald. Every news outlet in D.C. would pick it up. A sampling of the headlines that would likely appear:
“Behind the curtain: sources say ‘vain’ Grant considering toupee”– Politico
“A history of bald presidents”– Slate
“Media trash Republican president as ‘vain’ after near fatal gun wound”– Breitbart News
“23 bald men who sympathize with the president”– BuzzFeed
“Would Grant have gone bald anyway?”– Salon
Also, there’s a scene 45 minutes into the show wherein Pope is allowed into Grant’s hospital room, unaccompanied, to crawl in bed with him as he lies there unconscious. That wouldn’t happen, either.
In real life, if a president’s mistress tried hoping in his hospital bed, she’d be tackled by at least three Secret Service agents (all of whom would be forced to resign once word got out that they’d hired prostitutes while in South America).