Today Show Cares More About Fiorina Gaffe Than Sestak Scandal

As of this Friday, NBC's Today show has yet to mention the Joe Sestak scandal, (as noted by the MRC's Tim Graham in this Media Reality Check) however they did find time to poke fun at Republican California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina making fun of Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer's hair in an open mic moment. On Thursday's Today, they ran the clip of Fiorina's gaffe three times, even leading the show with it in the opening teaser with co-anchor Meredith Vieira exclaiming: "Ay Carly! California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina caught on an open mic making a joke about her opponent's hair."

Interesting to note that the reporters and producers at the Today show care more about a GOP Senate candidate mocking a Democrat's hairstyle than the White House attempting to manipulate a Senate race in Pennsylvania with a job offer.

The following takes on the Fiorina vs. Boxer open mic incident were aired on the June 10 Today show:

MEREDITH VIEIRA OPENING SHOW: And ay, Carly! California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina caught on an open mic making a joke about her opponent's hair.

(Begin clip)

CARLY FIORINA: Lauda saw Barbara Boxer briefly on television this morning and said what everyone says, "God! What is that hair?!" So yesterday.

(End clip)

VIEIRA: And her campaign is calling it nothing more than small talk, today Thursday June 10th, 2010.

...

MEREDITH VIEIRA: And now to that open mic incident for California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina. Take a look at what she was overheard saying just before a television interview on Wednesday.

(Begin clip)

CARLY FIORINA: Lauda saw Barbara Boxer briefly on television this morning and said what everyone says, "God! What is that hair?!" So yesterday.

(End clip)

VIEIRA: That's the risk of those open mics. You never know. So-

MATT LAUER: I can only imagine what would happen if someone heard what you say-

VIEIRA: Oh my gosh!

LAUER: -before the show here.

VIEIRA: Zip it!

...

HODA KOTB: Speaking of a big gaff-a-rooni.

KATHIE LEE GIFFORD: Yes!

KOTB: Alright so Carly Fiorina was getting-

GIFFORD: Gaffarina.

KOTB: Gaffarina. Carly Fiorina was getting ready to do a, an interview. She, again, is getting ready to run against Senator Barbara Boxer for the seat-

GIFFORD: A hotly contested seat, yeah.

KOTB: Very. So what you don't realize sometimes is when you're waiting to do an interview, you have a mic on, and as they're prepping you, sometimes you're so comfortable, you're not thinking about the fact that a mic is on and people are listening-

GIFFORD: Over and over and over again this happens.

KOTB: -around the globe. So this is what Carly Fiorina said about Barbara Boxer's hair.

(Begin clip)

CARLY FIORINA: Lauda saw Barbara Boxer briefly on television this morning and said what everyone says, "God! What is that hair?!" So yesterday.

(End clip)

KOTB: Doh! Doh! That's when you realize it's on.

GIFFORD: Busted! Busted!

KOTB: Now those kind, we were asking our Facebook folks about is it, are women, I hate to say this but, yeah. Can women always remain to be catty no more matter where you are in your life?

GIFFORD: If anybody videotaped our little morning thing upstairs-

KOTB: Or here, in the commercials.

GIFFORD: Just during commercial breaks.

KOTB: No it would be, we'd be fired.

GIFFORD: Let's be honest. We all say things that, in context, we don't mean to be hurtful.

KOTB: No. No.

GIFFORD: They're just truthful. You know what I'm saying? Just true.

KOTB: And Carly Fiorina, by the way, went through breast cancer. She, 'cause her, her hair has actually changed. She went through chemotherapy and the texture changed.

GIFFORD: Right, right.

KOTB: I know she's also sensitive about, about that as well. But anyway it was an interesting-

GIFFORD: It's gonna be interesting to see how it affects the race, if at all. Politics is ugly. It's just ugly, anyway. But this is, this is like a little window into a soul, you know? And people, it affects people.

KOTB: Do you remember when [John] Edwards was joozing his hair in the, remember he was like, and they played that song? Breck Girl, the Breck Girl song or whatever. When he was doing - like it's funny when little things can change people's perceptions of you.

GIFFORD: Well when people are struggling to put food on their table nobody wants to hear about a $400 hair cut.

KOTB: No they don't, they definitely don't.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.