And then there was MSNBC which, yesterday afternoon, devoted several minutes to SocksGate. MSNBC Live anchor Contessa Brewer lured viewers in with the following teaser: “When we come back, we’re going to talk about Bill Clinton’s socks. Not the cat, but his socks and, more importantly, the leg President Clinton was showing during the [Fox] interview and why someone didn’t tell him to pull his pants down, or no no, pull his socks up.” No word about why this was important — important enough to call upon two experts. “How does this happen? I mean, is this a travesty or what?” Brewer asked “Democratic strategist” Julian Epstein. Epstein’s expert analysis? “I think what Clinton was doing with this was [showing] that he, in fact, had more skin in the game when it came to fighting terrorism.” MSNBC’s other expert — former Bush/Cheney adviser Ron Christie — chimed in: “I do have longer socks on, almost up to the knee. You don’t have to worry about any leg showing here.” Brewer, relieved because she “prefer[s] modesty in [her] interviewees,” went on to opine: “If I had been doing that interview, I’ve got to say, I would just say, ‘Oh, Mr. President, your leg is showing …’ It’s sort of like telling someone they have spinach in their teeth. Come on, it’s not cool to let someone go around with spinach in their teeth. Same thing with leg showing.”


Concurring on the “not cool” point yesterday was Margery Eagan of the Boston Herald, who wrote: “Bill’s only misstep: how come nobody told him his pants were riding up, revealing that unsightly man-calf between socks and slacks?”


What can we take away from SocksGate — apart from the happy knowledge that Newsweek’s managing editor wears knee-high dress socks? Perhaps Senator George Allen should consider appearing bare-ankled on Larry King Live.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.