The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Today is the day for Danville’s major media closeup as all the networks and many other media outlets present live coverage from Centre College, site of the 2012 vice-presidential debate between incumbent Joe Biden and challenger U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). We’ll be keeping an eye on television coverage and noting any funny, meaningful, cool or otherwise noteworthy moments from the coverage.
Big shocker, on Fox News the feeling is Paul Ryan was the adult in the room rising about Joe Bidens smirky rudeness and on MSNBC the general feeling is Biden put the Obama campaign back on track with a feisty performance that helped put the Obama-Biden ticket back on track.
It looks like Chris Matthews is going to be the one to turn out the lights with a final Hardball from in front of the Centre Library. The crowd is dying down – just a few dozen folks hanging on the rail. By 1 a.m., it might just be him and Lincoln, and I don’t think Matthews would mind.
Fox News’ Sean Hannity told U.S. Sen. Mich McConnell (R-Ky.) he noticed debate organizers were giving away Bourbon. McConnell replied that Kentucky loves Bourbon and Hannity said he wondered if Vice-president Joe Biden had some before the debate.
Martha Raddatz on stage now at the Norton Center on CNN. She offers the cell phone warning and says that having worked in war zones she is not used to having her back to the audience and she is also not used to all the fuss prepping for the debate. “Usually I just roll out,” she says.
Props to CNN. It has not had as much of an on-air Kentucky presence as its cable news brethren, but in the final hour before the debate, CNN has been the network to convey the sense of an impending event from footage inside the hall to spin room interviews to moments others have not shown.
Very cool that CNN is showing in a spilt screen the audience seated and the preliminary program before the debate. Really didn’t know there was a preliminary program.
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell is doing a standup in front of a banner that says NCAA 2012 Basketball Champions. Wonder how that slipped in to Centre College. Have to say that when we contacted MSNBC to ask who was coming to Danville, they named three: Chris Mattews, Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell. But they actually have a good compliment of people in Danville including Tamryn Hall, Krystal Ball and O’Donnell, plus a number of their regular contributors like Mark Halperin and Eugene Robinson, who both have day jobs with print publications, on site.
Still, the left-leaning network’s coverage is anchored from New York with Rachel Maddow leading a long table of talking heads.
While Fox has Bill O’Reilly on now, they will be the only network actually anchoring from Kentucky.
CNN’s correspondent says that the Norton Center for the Arts’ Newlin Hall is freezing and notes that most people in the hall are looking through the official program.
Fox News live shot of Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) shows an increasingly busy spin alley as debate time draws closer.
Coverage across the board is decidedly turning toward the main event at this point. Enough chat about bourbon and shopping runs to Walmart. The chatter is focused on R’s and D’s and last-minute prognostication about how the debate will go. Well, not all the chatter feels like it’s lasting minutes.
I have to wonder what it’s like watching this fight between Chris Matthews, Michael Steele and Joy Ann Reid on Hardball with one of three fighters (Reid) not at the table.
Lots of blue Obama signs have flooded the background of Chris Matthews’ Hardball, though he has a pretty ardent heckler in the background. It seemed to be tripping up his opening monologue.
Fox and Shepard Smith are once again inside the Norton Center with throws outside.
Kind of a quiet hour Kentucky-wise. The network news shows threw to correspondents in Danville, but with short time, they were very focused on the event at hand. Looking to see how much the rowdiness has ratcheted up when MSNBC goes back to Hardball at sunset.
Bret Baier of Fox News gives a tour of the Norton Center stage calling Newlin Hall an “intimate space.” He then takes a fast-forward walk over to the gym-turned-media center and Spin Room. A photographer in the background of Baier’s interview with Obama spokesperson Stephanie Cutter can’t seem to get out of the Fox shot.
CNN’s Jim Acosta, in Danville, reports the Ryan camp is upset Time magazine released new photos of the vice-presidential candidate today. The photos, including Ryan in workout mode, have created a bit of a buzz in the political echo chamber. Wolf Blitzer says Time editor Rick Stengel says they thought it was a good time to put the images out.
Sign over Chris Matthews shoulder during the “Let me finish” segment on Hardball: Coach Cal for President.
Rev. Al Sharpton did not make the trip to Kentucky, so MSNBC is originating from New York the next hour.
Bret Baier’s Special Report is originating from inside the Norton Center for the Arts, which Baier fully name tagged in his intro.
Kimberly Guilfoyle is on Fox News out in front of the Norton Center showing a nice display of Kentucky Beverages. “Don’t drink that!” co-host Eric Bolling shouts, but she does anyway. They and the other three hosts — it’s called The Five for a reason — then go into a quick discussion about how Ryan will win tonight and Guilfoyle signs off with, “Kisses from Kentucky.”
Wolf Blitzer! You couldn’t move the Situation Room to Kentucky?
Back from a drive-time errand. Heard NPR’s Don Gonyea talking about the beautiful drive from Lexington to Danville – y’all are here at the perfect time. He also talked about seeing a gas station with a big “Thrill in the ‘Ville sign.”
On MSNBC, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is on Hardball with host Chris Matthews and Stephanie Cutter, spokesperson for President Barack Obama’s campaign. Matthews asked Beshear, a Democrat, how he got elected in such as red state that has sent Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell to congress. Beshear said Kentucky is a “schizophrenic state” that voted for Jimmy Carter, then Ronald Reagan, then Bill Clinton, then George W. Bush in Presidential elections.
CNN has not originated a show from Danville since we have been watching, but they are doing a lot of live shots from in front of the Norton Center. Right now U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) is in a spirited interview with anchor Brooke Baldwin.
MSNBC’s Krystal Ball is live from Danville, opening The Cycle noting Kentucky is the home state of Muhammad Ali and invoking fight metaphors for tonight’s fight: Joey “Deleware” Bide vs. Paul “The Kid” Ryan. BTW, yes, that is Krystal’s real name.
Also, Centre’s Dead Fred is getting its moment in the spotlight, periodically being held aloft in the background on MSNBC. The portrait is of Fred Vinson, a Centre alum from Louisa who went on to become Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The portrait goes everywhere, including to all Centre home football games. According to the Centre website, Dead Fred was the first to be seated at the 2000 VP debate.
Fun moment: On Fox, Kelly did a throw to Ed Henry, who appeared to be standing about 10 feet from Kelly judging by the backdrops in the shot of her and the shot of him. Turned out, when Kelly outed the shot, it was even less than that. Henry stepped over and complimented Kelly’s Walmart wardrobe. Wonder if Bret Baier’s stuff made it to Kentucky?
Tamryn Hall’s show is now on MSNBC live from Danville with guest Chris Matthews, host of Hardball. Sign being held behind Matthews: “Chris Matthews listens to Nickleback.” Insult? I’d take it that way. The network’s promo for the veep debate is “Wingman Showdown.”
Delta Airlines is getting no love from Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. She says they lost her luggage, including the choice outfit she had for tonight’s broadcast, and she had to go to the Danville Walmart for clothes to wear on the air today.
As we start at 1 p.m., both MSNBC and Fox News have gone live from the Centre campus. Andrea Mitchell is on the air with a sea of observers behind her hoisting “Centre Debate 2012″ signs behind her. Supporters of Republican nominee Mitt Romney and Ryan also are flooding the backdrop for the Democratic-leaning network with their signs.
Over on Fox, Megyn Kelly has the Norton Centre for the Arts, site of the debate, behind her but not as much activity as the area in front of the Norton Center has restricted access. Fox has 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on commenting on debating Biden, who she faced four years ago. The former Alaska Governor, interviewed from a location that appeared far west of here and south of Alaska, recalled the man who played Biden was “a real stinker,” who made her wonder if Biden would be that much of a “stinker” and she said she thinks Ryan needs to trip Biden up on his flip-flops.
Earlier in the day, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd hosted his Daily Rundown show from the networks Centre outpost and guests including analyst Michael Steele and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) commented along with Todd that they could use a nip of bourbon to ward off the frosty morning chill.
Danville will be the place to be for political media junkies over the next few days for Thursday night’s vice-presidential debate between incumbent Joe Biden and his challenger, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Several network and cable news outlets have announced lineups that will put a who’s who of high-profile journalists on the ground in Kentucky, although a few talking heads will remain at anchor desks in New York and Washington.
Fox News has one of the larger contingents coming to Danville, including Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly, who will anchor the network’s debate coverage Thursday night and their own shows, Kelly’s America Live at 1 p.m. and Baier’s Special Report at 6 p.m. Also originating for Danville will be Studio B with Shepard Smith at 3 p.m., Your World with Neil Cavuto at 4 p.m. and The Five at – ha! – 5 p.m. Also reporting from Danville will be Fox News chief White House correspondent Ed Henry, chief political correspondent Carl Cameron and general assignment reporter Steve Brown.
The NBC/MSNBC contingent will be led by Hardball host Chris Matthews, who will originate his Thursday broadcast from Danville, along with Andrea Mitchell and Chief White House correspondent and poll guru Chuck Todd, who has already tweeted, “Danville, KY, an hour from everywhere?”
CNN has not responded to requests for information or posted coverage information.
ABC News senior foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz will moderate the debate. ABC News will have David Muir covering the Republican campaign of Mitt Romney and Ryan, and senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper covering the Barack Obama and Biden campaign.
CBS News will have two correspondents in Danville: congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes covering the Obama-Biden ticket and chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford covering Romney-Ryan.
Those into the voices of NPR can listen for national desk correspondent Debbie Elliott and Washington desk correspondent Brian Naylor in Danville, and correspondent Don Gonyea, who will participate in a vice-presidential debate round table produced by WEKU-FM and broadcast at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday.
We’ll update as we hear about more news personalities in Danville.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich