Networks Skip Democratic Congressman’s Street Scuffle, But ABC Pounced on Catty Crack About Boxer’s Hair

None of the three broadcast evening newscasts had even a few seconds last night for video of Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge physically grabbing and yelling at an unidentified student attempting to ask him whether he supports President Obama’s agenda. But last Thursday, after Republican senate candidate Carly Fiorina was caught making a flip remark about Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer’s hair, ABC’s World News ran a full report on that “caught on tape political moment.”

Worth noting: Back on June 10, George Stephanopoulos was sitting in for Diane Sawyer. But last night, Sawyer was back in the anchor chair.

In introducing last week's report from correspondent Jonathan Karl, Stephanopoulos touted the Fiorina flap as “the latest caught off guard, caught on tape, all too candid political moment.” The Etheridge scuffle would surely fit that same standard, but ABC’s World News had no time on Monday to mention that embarrassment for the Democrats.

Fiorina’s campaign had previously been mentioned by World News in round-up pieces about this year’s elections, but Thursday’s item about her gaffe also marked the broadcast's first report focused exclusively on her candidacy, a Nexis search revealed. Here's the transcript, corrected against our DVR recording:
FILL-IN ANCHOR GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And now, to the latest caught off guard, caught on tape, all too candid political moment. Just hours after she became California’s Republican nominee for the Senate, Carly Fiorina forgot that for candidates, the camera is always hot. Here’s Jon Karl on an old lesson, learned again.

CORRESPONDENT JONATHAN KARL: Year of the woman, maybe.

MEG WHITMAN, GOP NOMINEE for CA GOVERNOR: What a great night.

KARL: Year of the political outsider, undoubtedly.

CARLY FIORINA, GOP NOMINEE for U.S. SENATE: Yeah, anyway, that’s what they said.

KARL: But even if your name is Carly Fiorina and you’ve never run for office before, there’s one old rule that still applies: Beware of the open mike.

FIORINA, SEARCHING FOR SOMETHING ON HER BLACKBERRY: I can’t find this thing.

KARL: Still basking in her primary victory, Fiorina was waiting for an interview on KXTV in Sacramento when she started musing about her opponent’s hair style.

FIORINA: Lauda (sp?) saw Barbara Boxer briefly on television this morning and said what everyone says, “God, what is that hair?” So, yesterday.

KARL: But it happens. Even to political pros. Jesse Jackson, talking about cutting off a part of Barack Obama’s anatomy. [on screen: “I wanna cut his n_ts off.”] George W. Bush calling a reporter a

CLIP OF GEORGE W. BUSH, 2000: (bleep).

CLIP OF DICK CHENEY, 2000: Oh, yeah. Big time.

KARL: Judging from Fiorina’s reaction when she realized the mic was on, that won’t be happening again. Jonathan Karl, ABC News, Washington.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That lesson is burned in.
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes is the Senior Editor for Newsbusters