Excerpt: Page Three of Eleven
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Three days in Austin aboard the Obama/Clinton Press Show
DEBATE PREPARATIONS - THE FIGHT ITSELF - SECRET SERVICE - CHEAP DEODORANT - BAG SEARCHES - AND BEHIND THE GATES AT THE OBAMA RALLY
by Ethan Persoff, http://www.ep.tc
THE PRE-DEBATE TOUR
The following is an eleven page excerpt from a larger work in progress
focusing on the upcoming Presidential election, with an emphasis on Texas and the upcoming brokered National Convention in Denver.
Walking down the steps. First up the SPIN ROOM
There's a unique feeling that comes with walking around with press people. It's different than moving along with other types because you're dealing with some very competitive hurried professionals and also some very unpredictable dissatisfied ones. One guy finally loses it, quietly pissing out "Who are all these dumb A holes?" to his cameraman. They both represent a larger Texas television affiliate north of Austin, and are clearly annoyed over having to now jockey for space with a lot of out of towners. The national news people who have shown up for today's pre-show are easier on the eyes. Discrete and less bitter in a way you might expect. At least externally.
There's humor here, too. This comes from the local people from smaller rural towns. Representing names like The Farm Gazette or The Weekly What. They're here for the wide-eyed experience of being around other newsfolk and immediately cluck loudly to identify each other to bond as one unit. There aren't too many of these sorts here today, but there are a couple. They are talking the loudest with weird chickeny giggles. I love small towns, but it's an act of surgery to get beyond them once you've been spotted for conversation.
We finally make it to the CNN SPIN ROOM
Wait? This is it? This is no Spin ROOM,
it's a HALLWAY by a couple toilets.
I'm joking here, but it's only because I'm now forced to concede something. Damnit, the CNN SPIN ROOM had captured my imagination. It's something I really wanted to be GRAND. A room full of SPIN! Vertigo, in constant motion! A reanimated Judy Garland LIVE dressed as Uncle Sam shooting off fireworks to songs SONGS SONGS! Seriously though, what a self-depricating title. Other than a seriously cynical sense of humor, why would CNN choose to title anything of importance the SPIN ROOM? Can't we at least pretend to have an honest uncorruptible or independently minded unswayable press? Why not call it the Phony Room. My question would have to remain unanswered for now, as the tour only involves introducing the Spin Room and showing us its amenities.
In truth however, The Spin Room is a decent mobile media center. There are about five or six designated large camera spots on a raised platform, along with a number of electrical boxes, a few monitors, etc. In its unused appearance, and without any actual Spin Users it does feel sort of like an airport terminal awaiting a press conference. But there is promise of SPIN in this Room, TOMORROW! And, to be fair, the only reason it's in a hallway is because that's where it fits into this rented academic setting. It's a wide hallway too. But again, I was HOPING for a subversive palace of constant machiavellian media monkeywrenching. Can't a kid dream? Who knows, maybe it will become this later with some rave music, mirrors, dim lighting and a fog machine. Or at least the right mix of people and snakeoil bullshit.
....Soon though I'm attracted to the shiny things in this space and shoot a few shots of cables and other candy
Spin Room CAM 11 and some beautiful Green Wires
We're then shown the Press Filing Centers.
The Filing Center is pointed out to us as two virtually identicle rooms, Press Center #1 and Press Center #2, and are told that tomorrow this will be where we spend the bulk of our day.
It's at this time that we are informed of security. A likely bit of news that Security Will Be Tight (understood and respected) and that we should show up as early as possible to get screened and should probably expect to stay in the Press Center once we've gotten cleared. I resist making any jokes to myself about this, outloud or even privately, as any chuckle would just be stupid. But it's an indication of something. No matter how pleasant a 'spin' we put on this, everyone here will be around a ton of cops and secret service tomorrow, and it will be tense on each of our internal systems. It's ignorant to think otherwise, and all smartass thoughts aside I have to really respect this, otherwise miss out on the entire day. I look over at Farm Gazette girl and wonder if she'll make it.
NEXT UP: THE BIG DEBATE HALL PRESENTATION