Sunday, August 3, 2014

Media roundup: Fancy Farm coverage from local, state and national news media, including the selfie

The Fancy Farm Picnic drew a record crowd, but most of those at the speaking had their minds made up. Many more undecided or persuadable voters were reached by the KET broadcast, which was picked up by C-SPAN, and news coverage of such events can be influential. Here's what local, state and national news media saw and emphasized:
  • "A record crowd descended on the grounds of St. Jerome Catholic Church to take part in the Fancy Farm Picnic's rowdy political specatcle, which may turn our to be the closest voters come to seeing Republican Mitch McConnell and challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes debate each other," writes Laurel Black of The Paducah Sun (behind a paywall).
  • The candidates "met Saturday for the first time in a year," write Jim Carroll and Joe Gerth of The Courier-Journal. "Democrat Grimes hammered on Republican McConnell, listing a series of her contrasting policy positions and urging the crowd to respond that 'Mitch McConnell doesn't care' on each one. McConnell, for his part, took shots at Grimes and a series of gaffes she and her campaign have made over the past year, including a recent statement that the Democrat's campaign confused Israel's missile defense system with efforts to stop terrorists from tunneling into Israel."
  • Sam Youngman of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports, "Grimes blasted McConnell as having gone Washington, pushing the refrain that instead of District of Columbia, D.C. stands for 'doesn't care.' . . . McConnell and [Sen. Rand] Paul responded, hammering the message that a vote for Grimes is a vote for the agenda of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama.
  • "McConnell and Grimes put some snark of their own in their usual campaign rhetoric — and sat just a few feet away from each other in a rare joint appearance," reports Adam Beam of The Associated Press. "So far, their expensive campaign has been waged mostly through TV ads and news releases."
  • "While this year’s political speaking at St. Jerome Parish began with a selfie (left), it quickly returned to its 19th century roots of zingers and criticism between the U.S. Senate candidates, their allies and a record-breaking crowd," Ryan Alessi reports for cn|2's "Pure Politics." Gov. Steve Beshear's photo of himself with 1996 Senate-race foe McConnell "wasn’t technically a prop, which is banned by the speaking event organizers. But it was close."
  • Grimes and McConnell "made it clear what each thinks is the ticket to victory this November," reports Ronnie Ellis of Community Newspaper Holdings. The candidates "delivered stem-winders in the best tradition of Fancy Farm political speeches."
  • "While the evenly divided partisans still had fun and exercised their lungs and vocal chords abundantly with cheers, jeers and boos, it wasn’t the near-nasty atmosphere of some recent Fancy Farm political events," Ellis also reports. “I believe we got through to them,” said state Supreme Court Justice Bill Cunningham, who as emcee urged the crowd to "leave your bad manners at home."
  • "At a picnic that is known for it's [sic] one-liners, this year's gathering at Fancy Farm was full of them," writes Robert Bradfield of Paducah's WPSD-TV.
  • At its core, Fancy Farm is a fundraising picnic for St. Jerome Catholic Church. While the food is great, the real feast is the politics," reports Lawrence Smith of Louisville's WDRB-TV.
  • Trip Gabriel of The New York Times reports, "The center of the political universe on Saturday was a town in far western Kentucky, where a pivotal and closely followed Senate race was fought in a metal farm shed, on a brick stage with a white picket fence meant to suggest a rural front porch. But instead of genial and civil banter, there was an exchange of low blows and political zingers . . . "
  • After a Fancy Farm dateline, Patrick O'Connor of The Wall Street Journal writes, "This hamlet in Western Kentucky played host Saturday to candidates in the nation's marquee Senate election fight, who framed the race as a choice between experience and change. . . . Their words took on new urgency in this rarefied setting, with the Democrat highlighting her youth and Mr. McConnell highlighting his status as the top Republican in the Senate, as well as what it would mean for Kentucky if he becomes majority leader."
  • Politico's James Hohmann writes, "In the most expensive and highest-profile Senate race of the year, not to mention the tightest in the polls, both sides tried Saturday to frame the race going into the final three months before Election Day. . . . With people in the crowd holding signs that said “Grimes = Obama,” the Democrat mentioned Obama just once, at the end of her speech." UPDATE: at 11 p.m. Sunday, "Fancy Farm" was still trending No. 6 on Politico.
  • "The Senate’s most important campaign devolved into a literal shouting match Saturday," reports Paul Kane of The Washington Post. "The candidates and their surrogates traded insults as thousands of liberal and conservative activists cheered and jeered their every word, despite a heavenly plea for comity from the local archbishop. . . . The unusual nature of Fancy Farm — something akin to each party holding a convention in the same open-air barn — compels speakers to boil down their pitch to the most partisan parts to try to win the loudest cheers from their activist supporters."
  • Away from the speakers' stand, "'Honest' Gil Fulbright, the huckster-in-chief in this year's U.S. Senate race, launched his satiric foray into Kentucky politics Saturday, promising crowds at Fancy Farm that he will betray voters to monied interest groups — and do it with absolute transparency," reports Mike Wynn of The Courier-Journal. "The faux candidate, who acknowledges that 'money talks and I listen,' said he decided to crash the 2014 Senate race . . . after learning it could cost more than $100 million." (C-J Photo by Sam Upshaw Jr.)
  • Eliot Nelson writes on The Huffington Post, "Per tradition, the shed where the speeches take place is divided evenly between Democrats and Republicans. What results is like nothing else in American politics –- think Prime Minister’s Questions, but with a lot more people in overalls."
  • Sam Youngman, freelancing for The Daily Beast today, writes that Grimes "needed a strong showing Saturday, and she got it. But one reason McConnell is ahead and still favored to win this race is that both he and the outside groups supporting him have run a relentless campaign to tie coal and President Barack Obama's unpopularity (the Bluegrass Poll released last week showed the president at 28 percent favorable) to Grimes. . . . As McConnell geared up to rail against President Barack Obama and his 'Kentucky candidate' ... he began by noting that, "Fancy Farm is fun, but there are serious problems facing our country.' 'YOU!' someone in the crowd shouted for all to hear. . . . 'The Gong Show' meets 'Hee Haw' with The New York Times in the front row as the candidates' gaffes take human form."
See other coverage worth noting? Email

No comments:

Post a Comment