CNN Guest's Sexual Joke: 'I Have No Problem Being Right on Top of Diane Sawyer'

Appearing as a guest on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday, TVNewser’s Gail Shister, who was inducted into the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Hall of Fame in 2008, made a sexual joke about new World News anchor Diane Sawyer that a male guest likely couldn’t have gotten away with. After the Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik had finished discussing the visual effect of ABC zooming in the camera so Sawyer appears closer to the viewer than previous hosts, Shister began her response with a sexual joke about Sawyer:

Well, first of all, Howie, I personally have no problem being right on top of Diane Sawyer, so that was not a problem for me. I think when you’ve got somebody that classy and visually attractive, why not get up close with her? I don’t think they’re going to stay that close every single newscast. I thought she made a seamless transition. I was pleasantly surprised at how seamless it was.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Sunday, December 27, Reliable Sources on CNN:

HOWARD KURTZ: Would you say, as an anchor, that Diane Sawyer has a more emotional style?

DAVID ZURAWIK, BALTIMORE SUN: There’s no doubt about it. And, in fact, they’re presenting her in a closer and more personal way.

KURTZ: How?

ZURAWIK: Well, the camera is much tighter on her, for one thing. I was struck the first night. I thought, "Oh, my God, we’re right on top of her." But it works with her, it works with her. Across the board, that newscast cosmetically is a warmer, more inviting place. The lights seem brighter. The graphics – and they said they are using new graphics – seem larger. It’s very attractive. Even one of the nights like last week, Howei, she was wearing a pinstripe suit. But it was either beige or cream. It was softer. It wasn’t gray or black. It’s a much more inviting kind of place.

KURTZ: Usually, we don’t do fashion reviews on this program, so I’ll go to Gail Shister. All right, all right.

ZURAWIK: No, no, no, but they haven’t sacrificed the journalism one bit. That’s the point I want to make, Howie.

KURTZ: Gail Shister, how well did Diane make the transition form morning news to the evening shows?

GAIL SHISTER, TVNEWSER: Well, first of all, Howie, I personally have no problem being right on top of Diane Sawyer, (ONE OF THE MEN CAN BE HEARD STARTING TO LAUGH UNDER HIS BREATH) so that was not a problem for me. I think when you’ve got somebody that classy and visually attractive, why not get up close with her? I don’t think they’re going to stay that close every single newscast. I thought she made a seamless transition. I was pleasantly surprised at how seamless it was.