Tags: trump | miss | usa

Note to Trump: Restore Fairness to Miss USA

Tuesday, 12 May 2009 05:08 PM

By Lowell Ponte

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Two cheers for Donald Trump, owner of the Miss USA pageant, who this week declared that Carrie Prejean will retain her title as Miss California.

Admirable as Trump's decision is, he could and should have gone farther and retroactively crowned Prejean winner of his now-discredited Miss USA competition.

Prejean has been under vicious personal attack from liberal media and gay community zealots since she responded to a Miss USA judge's question that she believed “marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised.”

“It's the same answer that the president of the United States gave,” Trump told reporters. “She gave an honorable answer. She gave an answer from the heart.”

As to the personal smears unleashed against Prejean — among them that she had cosmetic surgery and as a teenager posed for private photographs in her underwear — Trump said: “We are in the 21st Century. We have determined the pictures taken are fine.”

“In some cases,” Trump added, “the pictures were lovely.”

Truth be told, however, it is not Carrie Prejean but the Miss USA contest itself and the subculture it now represents that should be on trial in the court of public opinion.

The question used to pillory Ms. Prejean came from a 31-year-old radical gay activist judge, Mario Armando Lavandeira, who uses the pseudonym Perez Hilton. He is notorious for posting sexually explicit links on his Web site.

So why did Mr. Trump's contest select a fame-craving gay misogynist as one of its judges?

Perez Hilton was apparently chosen to inject outrageous, flamboyant behavior into the competition and elicit publicity. After all, such beauty pageants have been dying on the vine, with even Miss America consigned to the outer darkness of lesser cable channels.

Working with NBC — itself an increasingly radical, politically-correct network — Mr. Trump may have agreed to include Hilton to add excitement, shock-value, and surprise to Miss USA.

What Hilton, a controversial figure even within the gay community because of his obsession with “outing” gay celebrities who preferred to keep their sexual preferences private, added was a self-serving partisan question that forced Ms. Prejean to either tacitly endorse gay marriage or voice an opinion against it.

Suppose Hilton had asked, “Are you a Republican or a Democrat?” and then voted based on her answer. Would any reasonable person regard such partisanship as fair in a beauty pageant?

But what he did was arguably far worse. In her pageant bio material Prejean was clearly identified as attending a Christian college. In effect, Hilton put to her a grand Inquisitor question demanding that she renounce her fundamentalist religious beliefs in public or lose in the competition.

This is akin to the liberal demand that a litmus test be imposed on U.S. Supreme Court nominees that automatically rejects those who oppose abortion.

Such a test imposes an unconstitutional “religious test for office,” because it effectively says “true-believing Roman Catholics and other religiously-based foes of abortion need not apply.”

What Perez Hilton did was to impose a religious test for the position of Miss USA. By doing so, he violated one of our society's most deeply held principles, that people will not be discriminated against based on their personal faith.

This is what Donald Trump should have overturned this week, restoring American values to his Miss USA competition.

Here's how Trump could and should have justified this decision to declare Prejean the rightful winner:

Hilton, after using the foulest of epithets to describe Prejean, boasted that on his judge's card he gave her zero points, thereby bringing her score just low enough to cost her the crown, even though other judges apparently scored her slightly higher than the other finalist.

Chances are that Hilton also gave Prejean's rival the highest possible score to further tilt the outcome against Prejean. By such slanted voting he succeeded in making himself the decisive judge who alone picked the winner.

In the Olympics it has long been recognized that countries are clustered in ideological blocs, and that a few judges from these countries might cast their ballots unfairly to produce more gold medals for their comrades.

To reduce this risk, in the 2008 Olympics scoring for Women's Gymnastics the “B” panel scoring the highest and lowest scores for each contestant are automatically thrown out, and even in averaging the other four judges, any score wildly outside the standard deviation can be removed.

This is done to guarantee that no one judge's bias can alone determine the winner, as Hilton apparently did with Miss USA.

Presumably the original ballots still exist from the 2009 Miss USA competition. Mr. Trump can therefore go back, remove Hilton's unfairly low score for Prejean and high score for her more sexually-compliant rival finalist, and acknowledge what the general opinion was of most viewers and, probably, judges, that Carrie Prejean should be rightly crowned Miss USA.

The gay community should applaud such retroactive justice. Or would gays rather be judged by the kind of unfairness Hilton used to defeat Ms. Prejean?

Miss USA? Yes, I do, and I pray Mr. Trump restores it.

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