CNN Debate Last Night

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As I was writing my daily blog last night, we decided to also use it as our main web article for today on the home page of Below are the first few paragraphs:

Ken Ham debates Rev. Barry Lynn on the Anderson Cooper 360 CNN program

Last night I was in a PBS-TV studio in Cincinnati to participate in a debate on the Anderson Cooper 360 CNN program. My opponent was Rev. Barry Lynn, head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The debate centered on our Ark Encounter project—featuring a full-scale, all-wood Noah’s Ark in northern Kentucky—and the sales tax rebate for which we believe the Ark Encounter qualifies.

The debate, which was recorded, lasted about 15 minutes. I am writing this piece about an hour before the actual airing of the Anderson Cooper 360 program, so I don’t know if the producers will edit down the segment or not.

Let me say at the outset that Mr. Cooper was professional and fair in allowing both of us time to answer his questions. This was contrary to the time I was interviewed on Fox’s “O’Reilly Factor” when a guest host was sitting in—I think it was the worst interview I have ever had on American TV as the guest host was unfair and treated us poorly). So my “hats off” to Anderson Cooper for the way he moderated the debate, and I hope the editors working on the piece over the next hour will preserve that balance. This was my second time on Mr. Cooper’s program, by the way—he had a guest host the first time.

Such debates/interviews can be very difficult to do and are quite stressful, to be candid. Imagine the setting:

  1. I am in-studio by myself.
  2. I have to look into a camera, as bright lights shine in my eyes.
  3. My opponent (Barry Lynn) is in a different studio; he can’t see me and I can’t see him.
  4. I have an earpiece, though, and I can hear Rev. Lynn
  5. Barry Lynn and I can’t see Anderson Cooper; he is in the CNN studio.
  6. You can’t refer to any notes—you have to look into the camera the whole time
  7. You need to remember to smile (I think I forgot that, except for maybe at the very end!)
  8. It can be hard to know if the voice you hear in the earpiece is the interviewer or the debate opponent.
  9. Anderson Cooper had an attorney in-studio with him
I really don’t know how this debate will come across until we see the finished product when it airs in about an hour. And we understand that the debate might be edited down for the time available. As usual, you think of things you wished you had said—and sometimes you “kick yourself” for not remembering something. But, we try to do our best. Also, you don’t know the questions ahead of time and, of course, you don’t really know what your opponent will say. You also have to think quickly on your feet (well, I was seated!) and respond the best you can. Sometimes you would like to reply to a number of items, but you only really have time to make one or two points.
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