Saturday, March 22
We Begin Combing in Five Minutes!
Lloyd Grove,, March 21, 2003

The White House is vowing a strong retaliatory response after the BBC aired live video of President Bush getting his hair coiffed in the Oval Office as he squirmed in his chair and practiced on the teleprompter minutes before Wednesday night's speech announcing the launch of military operations against Saddam Hussein.

The British network broadcast 1 minute and 37 seconds of presidential primping to hundreds of millions of viewers in 200 countries around the world (and locally on WETA, Channel 26) before Bush's formal address at 10:15 p.m. Yesterday the BBC's White House producer, Mark Orchard, profusely and repeatedly apologized to irked staffers for airing video of an "unauthorized" portion of the pool feed while Washington anchor Mishal Husain chatted up a colleague about the significance of the moment.

CBS News Washington bureau chief Janet Leissner, whose news crew was responsible for pool coverage of the speech, also apologized to the White House, explaining that a technician accidentally flipped a switch that fed the images of a not-ready-for-prime-time Bush -- his eyes darting to and fro as a female stylist sprayed, combed and patted down his hair.

A BBC spokeswoman told us that her network promptly realized the video was not for broadcast "but they couldn't pull away because of technical difficulties." Meanwhile, we hear that in Britain, the commercial network ITV also aired the hair-raising feed.[...]
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