Morning drive DJs, some cable news host mavens, and early morning talk show hosts of the right and left are all talking about the gem of a video you can watch below: California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, getting caught with an open mike getting ready for a TV appearance — dissing her Democratic rival Barbara Boxer’s hair.
That has political junkies and new and old media types achatter — but in another part of it she may have committed a sin for a Republican: she also has less than glowing things to say about Fox News’ Sean Hannity — a talk host who is not just a mega partisan but a lockstep conservative who has little tolerance for those who stray.
Which raises one of two questions: will we see soon see Fiorina apologize to Hannity? Why? Because it could be argued that these days politicians would be better off having Karl Rove irked at them than Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh — the three talk show hosts who can make or break candidates not by just what they say about them but how much air time they give them. These talk show hosts are considered trusted friends by fans, who’ll often adjust their viewpoints depending on what those wise, partisan talk show hosts tell them.
(UPDATE: JUST AS I PREDICTED: She has in effect apologized about her Hannity comments but — of course — stands by her comments about Boxer’s hair. Which perhaps says something about the kind of campaign she plans to wage…)
The second question is: will this hurt Fiorina or actually help her? Will California voters like this totally candid view they see of her?
FOOTNOTE: It’s important when you watch this to realize the context. In the past 5 years I have been on MSNBC and CNN as a talking head a total of 8 times. There is a prep period where they may or may not put makeup on you, or they’ll test the mike and then the tech in the studio or the person in the network studio may chat. You are not on the air then and there is a lot of honest joking and chatting.
Then the show starts. On all of these shows you have X amount of time to provide the content for which they invited you on: your viewpoint on issues the told you they will discuss, as well as your view on issues they didn’t tell you they’d raise or reaction to what other say.
But the “real” person — the ‘real’ anchor, “real” guests — are the ones chatting before it’s “showtime.”
Will Californians find this glimpse of the GOP candidate a turnoff or in many ways endearing? Your view?
You can follow blog reaction to her comments HERE.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.