Will Gretchen Carlson Destroy the Miss America Pageant, or Save It?

There’s trouble in paradise as the storied Miss America pageant undergoes a makeover designed to make it more “relevant” for today’s young women. Leading the re-branding is former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, who was Miss America 1989, and whose role in generating changes now to the almost 100-year-old institution has made her a lightning rod among those who treasure the pageant’s traditions and especially its signature bathing-suit-and-heels competition. “We will no longer judge our candidates on physical appearance,” Carlson said at the National Press Club last month when she unveiled the organization’s new mission statement: “to prepare great women for the world and the world for great women.”