CNN Bans Fans, Other Media Outlets From Tonight's Gubernatorial Debate
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
After the bizarre #Fangate moment during last week's gubernatorial debate between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist, don't expect any similar shenanigans tonight. CNN is hosting the event, and they run a tight ship. The 24-hour news channel has explicitly banned fans from the podium.
Oddly, they've also banned other media outlets and the public from attending the event.
CNN is cosponsoring the debate, the final between Crist and Scott, with Jacksonville station WJXT, and local anchor Kent Justice will moderate alongside CNN's Jake Tapper.
The event will air nationally on CNN, and there will be no web stream available to other media as there as been in previous debates according to the Orlando Sentinel.
CNN has also banned other media outlets from covering the debate from the studio, citing space restraints. Requests to view the debate at the studio, or stake out the candidates in the parking lot were denied.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, members of other outlets will however be invited to a "filing room" at a Jacksonville hotel miles from the studio. That means there will be no traditional backstage spin room after the debate. There will also be no live studio audience at the debate.
However, CNN relented to a request from the Associated Press and an AP pool photographer will be allowed to take photographs of the two candidates just before the start of the debate. Presumably that means that both candidates will actually be on stage before the start of the debate.
As for the candidate, they'll have strict rules to follow, too: "no notes, no props and no electronic devices." Yes, that means fans. Sorry, Charlie.
Though, moderator Tapper notes that he really doesn't actually care if Crist brings a fan or not. He tells that the Times that he'll note that the rules have been broken and move on.
"[Voters] might be concerned about climate change, I don't think they're all that concerned about he climate surrounding Charlie Crist or Gov. Scott. It's nothing I feel strongly about one way or the other," he said.
Tapper says he intends to focus on issues that hadn't been brought in previous debate, and hopes to get actual answers out of the duo.