Bray New World

Tom Fuentes was getting pissy and obviously didn't care who in OCN's viewing audience knew it. In a live feed from the Republican Party Election Night soiree in Newport Beach, the county GOP chairman fumed over what the nation had just witnessed on the major networks. He denounced the "liberal media" for its eagerness to declare Florida for Gore, despite later vote counts suggesting the race was too close to call—and then in Bush's favor, and then too close to call again, and then . . . you get the idea. For proof that the local cable-news channel's viewers would not be similarly misled by liberals, Fuentes didn't have to look farther than the other end of the microphone. Standing there, resplendent in Nancy Reagan red, was OCN correspondent Sherri Ly. Like a strumpet at Pierce Street Annex braying hoarsely over the din for someone—anyone—to just give her a fuckin' cigarette, Ly was openly, loudly and unabashedly enthusiastic about Repub lican Election Night successes. She gushed. She purred. She extolled. But she had absolutely no effect on Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), a man with all the charisma of a lawn chair. She shimmied next to Royce in a two-shot that posed an interesting question for viewers who'd just tuned in: Which of these two had just overwhelmingly won re-election to the House and which was there to objectively report that fact? Indeed, Ly's giddiness seemed to embarrass most of her interviewees. Reporting before midnight that the networks had now declared Bush the winner (Fuentes was nowhere to be found to complain about the liberal media jumping the gun on that, naturally), Ly concluded by shouting out, "Let the party begin!" You half expected to see her crowd-surfing by the time OCN's cameras returned to her for an update. She didn't go that far—or sink that low—but it was obvious the correspondent had abandoned any pretense of neutrality during her post-midnight reports. "George W. Bush is going to be in the White House, and that's going to mean more money in your pocket!" Ly asserted. Standing next to her and smiling his creepy upside-down smile was Con gress man Chris Cox (R-Newport Beach), who was no doubt thinking he couldn't have said it any better. When anchor Roger Cooper threw it to Ly one last time at 12:20 a.m., the emotional roller coaster of an evening had clearly taken its toll. She looked exhausted. Her hair was wet with sweat. Her voice rasped. "It's been a very exciting night," she said as the crowd thinned behind her. The major networks were now questioning whether Bush had indeed won. But Ly fought valiantly to keep high the spirits of her faithful. "When they finally heard that George W. Bush is going to be in the White House," she said wistfully, punching the air for emphasis, "you should have heard the cheers." How could we, over this chick? —Matt Coker


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