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.