The royal baby watch is in full swing now that Duchess Kate is in labor somewhere within the confines of St. Mary's hospital. And so the media circus is ramping up, but the royal family is so secretive and the tradition so rigid that the media coverage literally amounts to watching a door. The rest of us are watching them. So, as we all prepare for a day of stunts and breathlessness, we will be liveblogging the best of the royal birthday media moments.
6:01 p.m. CNN and the other networks will be ridiculous all night. You can watch them if you like, but there has to be something better on. There has to be.
5:47 p.m. So this happened:
Fucking CNN: "Women throughout British Royal Family history...have panicked over not being able to deliver a boy...Kate did it-1st time."— Hilary Sargent (@lilsarg) July 22, 2013
And Wolf is trying to drive the conversation live on CNN towards "what does Diana mean to this royal baby," or something to that effect. He keeps bring Diana up and it's bordering, nay, teetering, nay! It's bloody inappropriate.
5:34 p.m. Wolf Blitzer was very interested in "the Prime Minister's role" in all of this. What could he, or the government, possibly do? "The government carries on governing the country," Westmacott explained. AKA literally nothing, Wolf.
5:14 p.m. British ambassador to the U.S. Peter Westmacott theorized the baby would be named James, George or Andrew. Ugh, those have been the front-running names all along. So no curveballs in the name department, apparently. Wait, no! What does this guy know? Nothing, that's what. We're still hoping for Prince Azalea Cabbage-patch Crumblebottom of Cambridge.
5:02 p.m. "It was a natural birth, from what we can tell," CNN's royal expert Max Foster just told Wolf Blitzer. "It certainly wasn't a C-section." Well then what was it, Max, a supernatural birth?! Let the conspiracies begin.
4:28 p.m. Naturally, with not a lot of information to go off of, talk in the news sphere has now shifted to other topics like what is Prince Charles saying (obviously good things) and, whether or not this baby is good looking. And well, it's being described as beautiful:
"Beautiful baby" says one of the 3 gynocologists who leave hospital after birth of #toyalbaby— Bill Neely (@billneelyitv) July 22, 2013
Though, you have to wonder if there are any British souls out there who would dare call this baby ugly.
3:57 p.m. Companies are apparently dusting off the royal baby social media ads they made nine months ago. Within minutes of the new prince's birth, Oreo released this not well-liked "bottle service" tweet:
Coca-Cola had their own social media ad/congrats message too:
As did toilet paper company Charmin:
Huggies has not capitalized on this moment ... yet. But yes, we're having quite a moment in real-time advertising, and by moment we mean backlash. While Oreo was praised for its real-time Super Bowl blackout tweet, people are tweeting a different tune today and seemingly turning on the brand for capitalizing on the birth of the royal baby. But c'mon—the two circumstances aren't that different in terms of spectacle and audience. Social media is one fickle beast.
3:46 p.m. The baby is here and it's a boy! And right on cue, ridiculous coverage has followed. CNN has become the first to say something tone-deaf about the brand new baby, with a commentator stating that Kate is now a better royal because she brought a boy into this world:
CNN commentator says giving birth to a boy "on the first try shows how brilliant of a royal Kate is. I just...— Elise Foley (@elisefoley) July 22, 2013
We get the idea—that women who didn't produce male heirs back in the day were considered "bad." We thought we were past that whole idea, because, well it's really sexist and crooked (like Kate would've been terrible had she brought a girl into this world?) and two, we know that fathers determine if their baby will have a Y-chromosome. CNN wasn't alone in this Kate-is-better-because-she-had-a-boy sentiment, as it was echoed by Daily Beast editor Tina Brown:
3:29 p.m. False alarm! No baby announcement coming soon, according to this BBC reporter:
Palace officials insist they havent briefed that a birth announcement is imminent. #RoyalBaby— Peter Hunt (@BBCPeterHunt) July 22, 2013
Meanwhile, the 24-hour TV networks are occupied with the Pope's windowless drive through Rio, Brazil in a typical hatchback sedan instead of the traditional Pope-mobile. He's so humble, this pope.
3:04 p.m. Oh, um, expect things to get nuts soon. Maybe. Perhaps.
Royal baby to be announced imminently. Watch this space #royalbaby— Camilla Tominey (@CamillaTominey) July 22, 2013
None of the TV networks have anything about an announcement coming soon.
2:35 p.m.: In Canada, the CBC embarrassed itself by airing a series of questions about the royal baby from Twitter that included a Professor Snape parody account. (Hint: it was a half-blood prine joke.) But CNN would not be outdone, no. They knew they had to step up and deliver something even more ridiculous:
Not to be outdone CNN bring us a woman in actual labour as part of their royal baby coverage. pic.twitter.com/FlV4xmZUjY— Amanda Walker (@WalkerSkyNews) July 22, 2013
1:49 p.m. And, of course, there's now a single-serving site answering the question, "Is the royal baby born yet?" This was our response:
1:42 p.m. The socialist revolutionaries at Gawker have made the argument the royal family should be "imprisoned and forced to work for the remainder of their lives to, in some token way, repay the public for all of these years of financial support," so there's that. The hot takes are going fast today. Get yours in soon!
1:11 p.m. Surprised it took so long, to be honest. This is why we can't have nice things:
1:08 p.m. CBC used impressive digital mapping to show you how far the royal announcement will follow once this baby finally shows up. It will be approximately three kilometers, they said, or two miles for us imperialists. Here are the best directions, according to Google Maps:
It'll be about a ten minute drive from the hospital to the palace depending on the traffic.
1:03 p.m. CNN's Tom Foreman and Max Foster used the network's notorious bluescreen technology to take us through Buckingham Palace and the history of succession in the royal family. The line as it stands right now looks like this:
What an accurate representation of the palace! Money well spent, obviously. But eventually they discussed the royal of the day, this royal baby, and how it could play into the future of the thrown. So, with a stork representing this unborn royal child, they showed how, if a boy, it will immediately succeed William in the line of succession:
Unless! Unless there's new legislation passed in the House of Lords. Poor Harry, he never gets any respect.
12:50 p.m. CBC just told us the palace will likely hold off on the baby announcement if birth doesn't occur before five p.m. today. So that's our deadline. If this thing isn't here before five then we're all free to get pints at the bar and wait for morning.
12:43 p.m. If you're bored of waiting for this stupid baby to show up, then you should occupy your time playing with this excellent royal baby name generator from USA Today. According to my results, it'll be King Chaucer The Ever-Moving.
12:35 p.m. CBC is discussing why Mr. Potato Head and GI Joes aren't popular with boys anymore. Hint: probably because it's not 1982. So, yeah, we're already talking about the toys this kid will play with. Boys toys are not very popular but girls toys are flying off the shelf, apparently. I don't even know.
12:07 p.m. CNN royal correspondent Max Foster explains that social media will be the last place the royal family informs the world of the royal birthing. After family and friends, a palace official will post a notice in front of Buckingham Palace. That's how we'll first learn about the pertinent information like height, weight and sex. Then the royal family may get around to tweeting about it.
11:41 a.m. CNN's royal commentator Katie Nicholl informed us there will be a 41-gun salute from the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery as soon as the baby is born. So, that's a new detail. They've also moved onto covering other news stories of the day with a bit more regularity, so they've relegated the royal double doors to a picture-in-picture view in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen. If someone comes out while they're discussing, say, the Michael Jackson trial (?!) then you'll still know first thing about the royal baby's birthing.
11:04 a.m. CNN's royal correspondent Max Foster explains this isn't "just an American or British story," because there are dispatches from Germany, France, Poland and "even two Slovakian reporters" posted in front of St. Mary's Hospital this morning. Exactly when did this become an American story?
10:59 a.m. These news trucks are parked outside of a British store in New York, because it's all about finding a local angle to a major story:
That's just good newsing.
10:56 a.m. The President is getting tricky and topical on Twitter:
No, that's not the royal baby. But Obama is proving he'll make an adorable photoshop with the royal baby when it does finally get here.
10:48 a.m. The most popular baby names are Alexandra, Elizabeth, James and Victoria, according to Joe Crilly, a press representative for British booking house William Hill, on CBC. Can you imagine if the royal baby is named Victoria? If the royal baby is named after POSH SPICE?! Becks will be so jealous.
10:42 a.m. "Look, a car went by!" says Hoda Kotb on the Today Show.
10:36 a.m. CBC's Susan Ormiston just advised the anchors that the royal family may not inform the media of the royal baby birth until tomorrow. Hahahaha, jerks. And if you're desperately waiting for a name, you best settle in for a long wait. It took the monarchy an entire month to announce Charles' name when he was born, and it took William a week. It could be September before we know what the royal spawn will be called.
10:16 p.m. So the royal baby watch continues, with the 24 hour news networks moving onto the most ancillary topics they can possibly consider. "Does the Queen have a say in this?" will be asked about every possible decision about this child already. CBC News is discussing who the godparents could be. The odds are on an older member of the royal family, like possibly Prince Andrew, or an outsider who's still a high-ranking British official.
But the royal baby door watch is marching forward, even though there's nothing to see. Here are some highlights from the live-streams this morning:
How can you take your eyes off this stuff? It's wild TV. There hasn't been this much prolonged excitement around a single object since the wait for the right smoke from the papal conclave. Which begs the question: what will be the royal baby watch's seagull distraction?
9:55 a.m.: Are you interested in the likelihood the baby is a boy? Or how about the debate over the baby's horoscope sign? Will you be compatible with royalty? Well, the Wall Street Journal and the Daily Mail have you covered.
9:51 a.m. CNN keeps taking flack for pushing their royal baby coverage as if it's "like no other network." Except there's a small problem: all the other 24-hour cable networks are covering it just as relentlessly. And if you think our demur neighbors to the north are behaving like calm, mature members of the monarchy, then you could not be more off base:
Guys, if you are not in Canada watching CBC News' royal coverage, you know nothing of over-saturation.— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) July 22, 2013
9:47 a.m. You want to know how crazy the media scrum in front of the hospital is? This 360 shot of the Lindo Wing door shows the numerous reporters and cameramen and handlers standing around and waiting, tweeting, hoping for something to happen.
9:42 a.m.: Now may be a good time to remind everyone that you don't need to make jokes on Twitter if you aren't funny. Don't feed the urge to tweet that half-formed joke you though up combining two recent Internet jokes. It's not worth it:
Trying to resist temptation to tweet out "FIRST PHOTOS OF THE ROYAL BABY" followed by a link to Geraldo's nude selfie.— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) July 22, 2013
9:35 a.m.: This guy caught a pretty brilliant example of the coverage on the U.S. morning shows this morning:
IMPORTANT: The news networks are covering the Royal Baby by showing pics of the hospital's front door. pic.twitter.com/8PWSr6aXLV— World of Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) July 22, 2013
9:28 a.m. For those of you who may be tired of royal baby coverage already and are looking for a reprieve, the Guardian is offering "Royalist" and "Republican" versions of their website for those who don't give a flying flit about the monarchy and its offspring.
9:19 a.m. The royal family is about as secretive as the Papal conclave, and so the media who have been posted outside of St. Mary's waiting for Kate to go into labor are standing at the ready, where they've been for the last week in some cases, waiting for a palace official to emerge from the Lindo Wing door to deliver a notice to Buckingham Palace. That's the next step in the royal baby protocol that we're all waiting for.
But that's not stopping the 24-news channels and the big morning shows from constantly checking in with their correspondents, patiently watching the guards in front of the hospital for the first signs of activity. But it's admittedly a little boring. You're watching a door. "Well, I can tell you excitement is rising here," the Today Show's royal baby correspondent Natalie Morales told the anchors back in New York a few moments ago. They openly laughed at her.
That's not stopping some networks from setting up live-streams set up in front of the hospital, though. NBC and ABC have a live "door camera" set up that's about as riveting as watching paint dry. The most exciting events captured so far have been passing cars and the guards adjusting themselves.
One of the best moments of the frenzy so far has come from the BBC's Simon McCoy, who displayed this devastating honesty about the media coverage: