Jump to content

#66: "I'm Clay Aiken, and I Approved This Message!"


Recommended Posts

Interesting article/blog, from the Hopewell Academy

What We Saw After the Debate in Pinehurst

What we saw after the debate at Pinehurst


Thanks to the North Carolina Bankers' Association, our class was able to attend the televised debate between Rep. Renee Ellmers and Clay Aiken. As it turned out, we didn't attend the actual debate. Although we got to the registration desk 10 minutes before it started, WRAL had closed the doors to the room at 11:22 and wasn't allowing anyone in. My students didn't complain or say anything mean to me. Instead, they decided to wait around the Pinehurst lobby and wait to watch the after-debate activities.

We followed the debate via twitter and waited for everyone to come out. We followed the TV cameras and microphones who were gathered on the hotel's front porch. As we understood it, Clay Aiken had offered to meet them outside, something which he did a few minutes later. He answered their questions, his campaign person signalled him, and they followed him to a car in front of the hotel. He hopped into the passenger seat and drove away.

The cameras then went to find Rep. Ellmers who was supposed to make herself available second, only it appeared that no one knew where she was . There were two Ellmers aides present, neither of them could tell the press when and where to find Ellmers other than the fact that she was supposed to be in the “Green Room” or if she was going to make herself available for questions. Earlier in the day, one of her people had told our class that Rep. Ellmers was scheduled to make another appearance immediately after the debate, a group of Republican business women (I think). As it happened, our class had stopped by the “Green Room”, a hotel meeting room that's not actually called the “Green Room” and that was scheduled to be used by a group of Bankers at that time. It turned out that Rep. Ellmers was in the restroom across the hall from the Green Room.

The media folk stood in a mass in the open space outside the Green Room and waited for Rep. Ellmers to emerge. My students saw the un-fun side of public life, the press watis for you while you're going to the bathroom. It's hard to say how long the press waited for Rep Ellmers while she was in the bathroom. It was at least five minutes , but may have been as long as fifteen.

When she came out, she seemed surprised by the prexence of the assembled media, even though it's customary to talk to the press after a televised debate. In fact, candidates usually want to talk to the press to have a chance to spin the event and amplify their message. The first question came from the WRAL reporter about her calling Clay Aiken an entertainer and Mr. Aiken's response in his press briefing that it was her way of dealing with the fact that she had nothing of substance to say. Rep. Ellmers first said she didn't hear the question. He repeated his quiestion and she said she was a “nurse” and yes, in fact, Clay Aiken had been on a game show and was an entertainer. She did not, however, use the opportunity to elaborate on the matters of substance she did address in the debate.

Here's the interesting thing for my class. I checked the media reports about the debate and every single one of them used the “entertainer” line as their lead while many quoted Clay Aiken's repeated assertion that Rep. Ellmers' had publicly referred to John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, as her boss, something she did not deny during the debate. No one reported the fact that it took several minutes to find Rep. Ellmers after the event and that once “located”, she spent anywhere from 5-15 minutes in the ladies room.

When I asked the media what they though it meant that the Congresswoman wasn't readily available after the debate, I got smiles. No one reported it as far as I know. I also haven't seen anyone fact check whether Rep. Ellmers did publicly call John Boehner 'her boss', as a rank and file Republican congresswoman, he is her boss btw. There was also a second factual matter that came up in the debate that I haven't seen fact-checked.

I've asked the class to see if they can find either. I've also asked them why the “bathroom” thing isn't considered worth reporting. It's certainly a fact, though there could be any number of reasons she needed to be in the ladies room at that moment. I would, however, say it was also clear that no one including Rep. Ellmer's people seeemed to know if she was going to make herself available to the press after the event.

Is this a standard thing? Does our local media not report a “fact” because they want to avoid any accusation of bias. Why don't factual disputes in a televised debate get fact-checked immediatley by the local media the next morning? Why is the lead “Ellmers twice refers to Aiken as an entertainer” ? Fwiw, Aiken's experience on TV seemed to help him in the press sessions afterwards. He knew that he would look better outdoors. He knew how to look into the different cameras after one cameraman jokingly suggested that he stare directly into his station's camera. The class reviewed their own movie (we'll try to post it) of the event and the light-colored walls combined with the glare of the lights for the camera arguably isn't flattering. It's also noticeable in the movie we have that Rep. Ellmers was looking down instead of at the cameras while answering the media's questions.

What did my high school students learn from this? What should journalists report? Should the rbe restricted to what was televised in the debate itself or can they comment about things that publicly happened or didn't happen after the event, the part the general public didn't get to see on TV.?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

LOL. I really don't understand most of what is being discussed. I just see red when she speaks to Clay as though he's an idiot (which he clearly isn't) or blatantly ignores what he says and continues to state untruths about his stance on issues. STFU woman.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, she's really quite dismisive of him. "Entertainer doesn't make you qualified to go into politics."

So, when did nursing make you qualified to go into politics?

(And I mean that as no slam toward all the wonderful nurses I know here....)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The News and Observer article linked has the photographer's name: Corey Lowenstein.

That article has now also been fleshed out with a rough transcript of his interview:


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm flipping through the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine, which came in our mailbox today. Guess what? Two page spread on Clay's campaign!

For those out looking, it's issue 1220, dated October 23, 2014. President Obama on the cover.

Totally surprised me!

Off to read...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Email from TC.

We have added a new item to the CA4NC Store: CA4NC Picture Frames!

If you haven't already, check out our new Store where you can find all of the available CA4NC memorabilia. T-shirts, yard signs and picture frames are all available in limited quantity, so place your order today.

Proceeds from the CA4NC Store go directly to helping Clay spread his message throughout the Second District before the November 4th election. So contribute towards Clay's campaign and get a great piece of memorabilia in return.

Charlie Flanagan

Deputy Finance Director

Clay Aiken for NC


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stops on the tour! Wish it was singing!

@_Raleigh_NC: Aiken, Ellmers schedule events in final campaign weeks: Renee Ellmers and Clay Aiken both have events planned ... http://t.co/cETBBh6NbS

Ok Renee is having a fundraiser tomorrow night featuring.......Omg the horror.......an entertainer! Jo dee Messina

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Create New...