Former Miss California Carrie Prejean appeared on the Nov. 11 "Larry King Live" to promote her new book, "Still Standing." Tension ran deep, with Prejean accusing the host of being "inappropriate" and at one point, taking off her microphone and threatening to walk-off the set.
King also blindsided Prejean, who famously spoke out against same-sex marriage in the Miss USA pageant last April, with a caller who asked her, "I'm a gay man and I love pageants. I'm sure that you, Carrie, have got great gay friends that helped you possibly win. What would you give them as advice if they wanted to get married?"
Prejean had taken off her microphone while the caller asked the question. She later claimed on air that the agreement King had with her publicist about her appearance did not include taking phone calls. King insisted, "I didn't know we weren't supposed to take phone calls."
King twice tried to obtain an answer from Prejean about a sexual video she made as teenager for her boyfriend. He fired four questions to her about her settlement with the Miss Universe organization, despite Prejean's insistence that those matters were confidential and she could not comment on them.
It was at that point Prejean told King he was "being inappropriate."
King is notorious for his softball celebrity interviews. Why the hardball now, especially putting a caller on the air who obviously looked for a "gotcha" moment with Prejean?
Could it be because she's expressed conservative beliefs?
This line of attack appeared to be a new one for King. The CNN host interviewed Monica Lewinsky in 2000, and backed off of a line of questioning about the former White House intern's feelings toward Linda Tripp after she replied, "I think because she's in trial, it's probably not appropriate for me to comment. I'm sorry."
King tried once more to draw an answer from Lewinsky, but moved on to another question after she demurred a second time.
With Prejean, King quickly asked her about the recently leaked sex tape. He treated the matter of a sex tape very differently in his 2007 interview with Paris Hilton.
Hilton catapulted to the top of the pop culture stratosphere in 2003 when her ex-boyfriend Rick Salomon released a video of the couple having sex.
Yet Hilton's sex tape (the entire reason for her fame) did not come up in her interview with King, even when he asked her when the intense paparazzi interest in her began. Hilton claimed it began at the age of 16 when she "moved to New York ... and began modeling."
Granted, King's interview with Hilton came four years after the release of her sex tape, and Prejean confirmed her video just this week, but it was disingenuous of King to not point out that Hilton owed her household name status to her video escapades.
King's treatment of Prejean showcased the harsher examinations conservatives take get under the microscope of the mainstream media.