Yes and no. The host and guest tippy-toed up to calling Mrs. Vitter a “prostitute” during their chat last night, but the lower third graphic definitely called her a “ho.” The segment is causing a stir according to Inside Cable.

[Guest host Allison] Stewart was interviewing Radar’s Jeff Bercovici on the subject of Vitter and his wife’s choice of outfit selection for the statement Senator Vitter made on Monday.

While the segment played out, a series of lower thirds with rolled by saying things like “Don’t Mess with the Mrs.”, “Vitters’ Sweet Symphony”, “Fashion ho-pas?”, and “Dressed to Kill”. The entire segment concerned Mrs. Vitter’s fashion choice.

STEWART: When you first saw Mrs. Vitter standing by her man, what was your reaction?

BERCOVICI: I think you have to call it disbelief. The idea that somebody would wear that kind of outfit to any sort of crisis control press conference is hard to believe enough in itself. But to go to a conference where your are addressing your husband‘s infidelity with prostitutes and you yourself are looking like—apologies for this—but she‘s looking a little like a prostitute.

STEWART: She looks saucy, we‘ll say.

BERCOVICI: I think it brings up associations that you don‘t want to bring up in that situation.

STEWART: And he is really not in the position right now to say, honey, could you slip into a cardigan and some pearls?

BERCOVICI: Exactly.

It’s a red on red for us, as liberals at Kos and elsewhere go back and forth over whether the segment from premise to graphics was sexist and over the line or not. My take: It was. Mrs. Vitter is the victim in this whole thing, but both of MSNBC’s talkers treated her like she isn’t even human. But coming from MSNBC and particularly Olbermann’s gig it’s hardly surprising. We’re talking about a show that’s hosted by a man who routinely smears conservatives including our boss and makes tendentious associations between President Bush and Hitler that might make Keith Ellison think twice about uttering them. Countdown is a show that finds the line, draws it nice and bright, and then takes a flying leap over it at least once a fortnight.

But the one thing that no one’s talking about is what host Stewart was wearing when she made a big deal in her opening lines about Mrs. Vitter’s snug fitting, printed dress with a plunging V neckline.

hopas002.png

Anyway, here’s the segment. Roll the video tape.