Dana Milbank vs Nico Pitney=Old Media Trying to Stuff New Media in Locker

Update: Here’s Nico’s take, including the fact that Milbank called him a dick off-mic.  Also underscoring my earlier point, in Nico’s article, Politics Daily’s Lynn Sweet brags about being the only journalist besides Milbank to ask about Obama’s swimsuit.

Sure, it is delicious to watch, like trains full of fireworks colliding, but this is the culmination of a growing blood feud between Old Media and New Media.  Here’s the clip, from Reliable Sources:

Let me start by saying that neither of them did themselves a favor with their tit-for-tat deconstruction of the other’s “record,” but Milbank seemed especially childish with his Rain-Man-esque “dossier” on Pitney.  Nico would have been wiser to point out that his and the White House’s only “crime” was in trying to give voice to the voiceless.

I’ve already said my piece on the “collusion” charge, and although Milbank highlights something I didn’t know about the timeline of the social media solicitation and the White House’s contact with Pitney, it doesn’t change the larger point.  The question was not staged, the President didn’t know what it would be, and Pitney/HuffPo was selected because they have been outclassing old media with their coverage of the Iranian unrest.  Because they’ve had their ear to the ground, they were the natural choice to get a question from an Iranian on that ground.  It was a reward for responsive journalism.

Despite what Milbank and Amanda Carpenter want to make out of it, this is a win for New Media, not for partisan blogging.  It’s also the latest in a string of Old Media attempts to push New Media down the stairs, “All About Eve”-style.

The fact is, blogs and Twitter have some distinct advantages over traditional media, and the big kids no likey.  Nimbler and more accessible, New Media have left the MSM in the dust recently, particularly on the Iran story.  While blogs and Twitter have some inherent weaknesses, too (sometimes lax or difficult to ascertain factuality), the best examples of the new journalism can make traditional journos look like overmedicated dinosaurs.

I think this animosity was central to the recent Meghan McCain/Paul Begala dustup on Bill Maher, and the attendant glee at Meg’s supposed enschooling.  Begala waas clearly trying to put Meghan, the upstart blogger, in her place, and people were more than willing to enjoy the spectacle in spite of Begala’s lack of an effective argument.

Politics Daily Editor-in-Chief Melinda Henneberger wrote an entire treatise on traditional media’s awesomeness, and blogging’s converse shittiness, while trying to explain away her firing of a new-media journalist (me).  The central issue there, too, was the story of a Twitter uprising against a shockingly misogynist blog post.

I first noticed this kind of grumbling a few months ago, but at the time, a lot of people were still trying to figure out what to make of  Twitter.  Now, as it comes into its own, expect the whining to get louder.

When I attended the President’s first prime-time news conference, commiserated with fellow blogger Ana Marie Cox, and watched HuffPo’s Sam Stein ask a question of the President, I knew it was a new day.  The MSM is going to need to follow the examples of its members who “get it,” (Jake Tapper is a notable example), or be left eating more dust.


  1. Frankly, this whole thing is nothing more than a spoiled brat whining because his little brother’s piece of dessert is slightly larger. Then after pointing out how stupid they’re acting, they claim ‘YOU DON’T LOVE ME ANYMORE!’

    Get over it.

    My problem with these two people in particular:

    Milbanks wants to paint it as a threat to the free press. Someone please open an atlas in front of him and draw a great big circle around China, Iran and Cuba so he can see where free press is *actually* in danger.

    Carpenter mentioned something about “up front where everyone has fair access to the president.”

    No. Sorry, but we’re going to stay in the real world for this. Here in the real world, there is a set order in who gets 1st question, who gets 2nd and so on. That the president went off the itinerary and gave 2nd question to someone else is ALL this is about.

    Again, get over it.

  2. If an example of snobs Lynn Sweet and her buddy Melinda Henneberger’s “traditional journalism” includes the former’s fluffy FLOTUS Watch on AOL PD, I’ll take the “new media” any day! But, it could be considered a bastion of fashion journalism, I suppose.

  3. […] that the White House controls the press is a little tougher for me to swallow (the Pitney thing, as I’ve said before, is a red herring).  The job of Press Secretary has, for a long time, been to stay on message.  […]

  4. […] stunned, and was immediately reminded of WaPo “Dickwhisperer” Dana Milbank’s lecture to HuffPo’s Nico Pitney about […]

  5. […] conflicts of interests.  For example, when this story broke, I was immediately put in mind of Dana Milbank’s lecture of HuffPo’s Nico Pitney on Kurtz’s own “Reliable Sources.”  That splinter in Pitney’s eye is […]

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