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'Live Desk' Turns Miss USA Segment into Soft Porn

Reported by Judy - December 18, 2006 -

Fox News' "Live Desk" was tut-tutting Monday (December 18, 2006) about the behavior of Miss USA, Tara Conner, who may lose her "crown" because of inappropriate behavior, but the segment points up the hypocrisy of Fox News' treatment of women as subjects of news stories.

The segment on the "Live Desk" was short on specifics as to what Conner is accused of doing, beyond saying she had been seen in bars despite being underage, that she may have broken some unspecified laws, and that she had missed some public appearances.

The Fox News website, however, carried a story about Conner's "alleged drug and alcohol abuse and indiscretions with men" but host Martha MacCallum failed to offer up that information to viewers.

Viewers were left to fill in the blanks themselves when MacCallum asked her "A-List" about the beauty pagent winner's behavior, saying, "In a world where we see Britney Spears in all kinds of situations that we don't necessarily want to see her in, and the rest of them in, what does this say about her behavior that she's being called on."

Gretchen Carlson, a Fox News reporter and former Miss America, noted that she always had a traveling companion or a chaperone with her. "I think you're asking for trouble with the Miss USA organization when you put Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA, all under 20, in a New York City apartment, and expect them not to be tempted with New York City."

The problem, though, is a lot deeper than not having a chaperone.

While airing comments from a panel chastising Conner and in a teaser, Fox News showed five times the video of Conner in what I'm guessing was supposed to be a swimsuit, sashaying down the runway, swiveling her hips provocatively, and then later in an evening gown being crowned.

Conner got the job based solely on her ability to look like someone millions of men would like to have indiscretions with. Why wouldn't she get the message that it was OK to do just that?

In the story on its website, Fox News quotes Donald Trump as saying that Miss USA is supposed to be a role model. What kind of a role model auditions for a job wearing next to nothing?

As for Fox News, it dangles this woman's beauty before viewers, sending the message that she is a sex object and nothing more, and then pretends outrage when she commits "indiscretions with men."

Fox News loves footage of scantily-clad women, but it also loves to pounce on "fallen women" such as strippers and prostitutes. And that's the hypocrisy of Fox News when it comes to women -- they should look sexy for the benefit of men, but if they ever act on that behavior, they automatically become sluts.

One of the A-List panel members suggested that girls today grow up in an environment of pornography, demonstrated by the Paris Hilton sex tape, and that they lack a sense of what's private and what's public.

Maybe Fox News could ask itself how it contributes to that environment.