It's not often you get to see a former Miss USA and a former Miss America square off in a battle of wits. But a snap programming decision at Fox News brought it all together this week. Fox host Gretchen Carlson, who won the Miss America title in 1989, interrogated Shandi Finnessey, 2004's Miss USA winner. At issue was the racy lingerie photos being promoted for Miss USA's latest pageant. Carlson, proud of Miss America's reputation as the classier, more-respectable pageant, asked Finnessey if the suggestive photos were appropriate:
Finnessey: I think it's completely appropriate because the difference is Miss America and Miss USA. Miss USA has always been a typical beatuy pagent. It's sexy, it's fun, it's a woman of today I feel... You open up any magazine right now and that's what you're going to see...Somewhat peeved, Carlson pushes back:
Carlson: I really appreciate you pointing out the stark differences between the two programs. The Miss America pageant has a talent category of course also it's the largest scholarship program in the world for women. But be that as it may, why would this be appropriate just because the current magazine's of our day are showing photos like this?
Finnessey: Well I think that's what keeps Miss USA very relevant. We're on NBC, unfortunately Miss America who hasn't been able to stay with the times have lost their ratings, lost their advertisement. They no longer have a network they're even on.
Carlson: Well hold your horses on that comment because I'm not so sure that you're quite accurate on that, as we move forward.After giving Finnessey one more chance to explain herself Carlson ends the segment with something of a sucker punch:
Carlson: And currently Miss America is in Germany visiting our troops and thanking them for their service. We'll let the audience be our judge on it, Shandi Finnessey great to have you with us today.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.