The interiors of homes belonging to U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney and her top congressional opponent Harriet Hageman were recently a featured topic of the popular Twitter account RoomRater.
Not surprisingly, the popular Twitter account which is unabashedly partisan, ripped Hageman and lauded Cheney.
“Nice rough hewn timbers. Deserves honor and recognition. Even if it means having to move home to Virginia. Reframe to reduce headspace,” the Room Rater post remarked about part of Cheney’s home as seen in a backdrop for a TV interview.
She earned a score of 8 out of 10 score for modern mountain home decor.
It was the same room Cheney has been seen in while questioning witnesses in some of her taped testimony for the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
What RoomRater Is
Room Rater is a social media account run by Claude Taylor and Jessie Bahrey. It reviews the appearance of home spaces used by public figures in the background of their TV interviews.
The account started at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in response to the surge of people doing interviews from home rather than a TV studio.
The account now has more than 412,000 followers, following what Taylor describes as a running joke on a modern day subculture, or a “universe within that universe.”
A classy bookshelf usually helps get a high score as do antique globes and “power pillows,” an item complemented in one recent screen grab on the account.
An intriguing fixture or ornament wins additional brownie points.
Former U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill became well known on the page for a cake stand featured in the background of many of her interviews, causing followers to speculate about what kind of sweet dessert might be inside.
The reviews are intended to be fair but lighthearted.
“I’m not an interior decorator, I just pretend to be one,” Taylor told Cowboy State Daily.
Zero Out Of 10
They also review interviewees for their technical preparedness, commenting on visible cords (“cord violations”), bad camera angles and smudges to their computer camera.
The account reviewed Hageman on July 8, saying that, “A cord violation is the least of her problems.”
She received a score of 0 out of 10 score and some harsh words, not to mention the scathing comments that followed.
However, Taylor admitted that Hageman’s decorating skill may not have had a lot to do with the final score.
“I wasn’t trying to be fair, I was definitely trolling her,” Taylor said.
Hageman has done more visually appealing interviews than the one she was most recently ranked for.
In a September 2021 interview with Fox News, she appeared with a framed up camera view and Wyoming memorabilia in the background.
Although he is a resident of the Washington, D.C. area, Taylor, a self-described “political junkie,” said he watched the entire Wyoming House debate that was held in late June. The manager of a Democratic political action committee, he has a pretty low opinion of both candidates.
“(Hageman) is insane without a grip on reality,” he said. “I’m aghast to even think of putting that woman up for dog catcher, let alone Congress. And there’s some fine dog catchers out there that don’t deserve that type of comparison.”
Not A Cheney-Lover Either
Taylor is not a big Cheney fan either, adding in the comments of her review that, “She spent most of her adult life in Virginia before moving back ‘home’ to Wyoming to run for Congress.”
Taylor, who was also a member of former President Bill Clinton’s staff, said political bias absolutely factors into the reviews. Room Rater is considered a subset of his Mad Dog PAC.
He said if he or Bahrey do come across a Republican they don’t like with a quality backdrop, they usually won’t review them. But that’s not to say Room Rater hasn’t complimented conservatives for an eye-pleasing home ambiance before, featuring Republican strategist Rick Wilson.
Cheney and Hageman are the the only two Wyoming figures to win a rating from Room Rater.
I was featured on Room Rater for an MSNBC interview I did last October about Kanye West. Room Rater may have gone easy on me, critiquing my camera angle, but seemingly giving credit for two antique Buffalo Bill posters showing in the background.
“Love the western art. Can we get a closeup? Nice chair-and-a-half,” the post snarkily remarked.
Maybe I could take a few notes from the book Room Rater recently published, “How to Zoom Your Room.”
Inside, readers can find illustrations of visually stunning set-ups and tips from all-star Zoom roomers on how to improve one’s interior ambience for the next virtual meeting. Also included are Oval Office decor anecdotes from presidential historian Michael Beschloss and several recipes from McCaskill.
Taylor believes Room Rater has served a legitimate function in society, helping people land jobs, as well as making financial contributions to charitable causes. Room Rater gave $391,000 in proceeds from a recent fundraiser to the Navajo Nation for facemasks. Now, Taylor said he is in talks with a well-known producer for a reality TV show.
Cheney has done a few televised appearances since the Room Rater review, with improved framing. Hageman has not done any since her recent review.
Taylor doesn’t believe home interviews will ever go away entirely.
“I think there will always be a hybrid between home and the office,” he said. “This Zoom experience is here to stay.”