The four cable news networks carried the news conference this morning fronted by this century’s P.T. Barnum, Donald Trump. Riding the wave of the successful finale of Celebrity Apprentice 2 Sunday night (8.7 million viewers, ranking NBC #2 for the night), the Donald called a news conference to announce whether Miss California Carrie Prejean would be able to keep her title.
In addition to taking over 30 minutes of cable TV time, promoting his pageant business over a competitor’s, (while taking a shot at the Miss America organization for its lack of a broadcast network home), there was the matter of his decision, announced live on TV. Trump deemed those racy pictures of Prejean “fine” and is allowing her to keep her title.
Prejean then took to the mic to thank Mr. Trump and to reaffirm her stand on gay marriage which she believes cost her the Miss USA title last month. “I believe that a marriage should be between one man and one woman.” She also got emotional, targeting her critics: “I exercised my freedom of speech, and I was punished for doing so.”
This same stunt was pulled three years ago, when a news conference was called to determine if alcohol and drug problems would cost then-Miss USA Tara Conner her crown. They didn’t. Today Trump called the Prejean affair, “in a way, a bigger issue,” because her position on gay marriage is part of the national discussion.
As for the wall-to-wall coverage. CNN was first to get out. Fox News, MSNBC and HLN stayed with the whole thing. Of course MSNBC would, since the Miss Universe organization is a partnership between Trump and NBC Universal. But that didn’t stop one of MSNBC’s anchors for the hour, David Shuster from describing his disgust with the whole thing: “Can I vomit right now?” he asked as the news conference came to a close, adding, Prejean “whined about all the attention when I thought ‘gee, isn’t that what beauty pageants are about.’ And never mind Carrie Prejean, Donald Trump seemed to be saying lying is okay.” At this hour, MSNBC continues to milk the news conference conducting “exclusive” interviews with the Miss California USA co-executive directors.
By the way, Prejean will be a guest on FNC’s “Hannity” tonight.