It is rare on national television to have a guest refuse to speak and then just sit there, but that was the scene on Larry King Live with Carrie Prejean. It is always exciting to see legal technicalities and interpretations become the subject du jour for celebrity talk shows.
Just as a legal note, on this occasion, King may be right, but it is possible for the parties to mutually agree to bar any press discussion. A confidential settlement normally bars discussion of the terms of the settlement and not the motivation of the settlement. What Prejean is describing is an agreement for a gag rule. However, the pageant has released information, here. It would be strange for an organization to require “radio silence” and, if a gag rule was part of the settlement, it would be interesting to see which side insisted upon it.
Putting this aside, it is a matter of debate whether silencing an interview between Larry King and Carrie Prejean was a significant loss to the public discourse. Indeed, for those minutes of silence with Prejean and King staring at each other in silence, there may have been a net improvement of the overall journalistic content of the show. For that brief moment, a degree of sanity returned to celebrity cable programming. It was fleeting, however.