Olbermann Belatedly Apologizes for Guest Host's Wendy Vitter 'Ho-Pas'

July 24th, 2007 4:01 PM

Filling in on July 17 for Keith Olbermann, MSNBC's Alison Stewart devoted a "Countdown" segment to criticizing the dress Wendy Vitter wore during a July 16 news conference in which her husband, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), admitted to an affair with a prostitute.

With "Fashion Ho-Pas?" emblazoned on-screen (pictured at right), Stewart interviewed Radar Online's Jeff Bercovici, who snarked that Vitter's sartorial choice could mark "a complete reversal of the laws of skankery." [Video (1:37): Real (2.54 MB) and Windows (2.90MB), plus MP3 audio (753 kB)]

Olbermann returned to his program's hosting duties the next day and also hosted the July 19 program before turning over the helm yet again to Stewart for his July 20 show*, despite having had three days to become aware of the "ho-pas" segment, take disciplinary action against Stewart, and make her issue an apology. Olbermann either saw the light or felt the heat over the weekend, apparently, as he issued an apology about one-third of the way through his July 23 program (h/t Ian Schwartz):

"Not only was a series of unfortunate and inappropriate terms used, there is no justification for such a segment devoted to analysis of what a woman-- a victim of her husband's inappropriate behavior-- was wearing in public. The story should not have aired. It should not have been couched in the terms used. It should not have happened, and it won't happen again. So Mrs. Vitter, and to you the viewer, I once again apologize."

*Olbermann did, however, file a report via satellite on the July 20 show from a New York release party for the latest Harry Potter novel.