If blogs could talk…
: Arianna Huffington should be crowned the fairy godmother of bloggers. At lunch today in Grand Central, The Week magazine (my favorite magazine these days) brought together a panel to talk about media bias and Huffington grabbed the microphone to announce that not everything about the media is bad:
The good news is what is going on on the Internet — the bloggers.
It was not the mainstream media that got rid of Henry Kissinger [as head of the 9.11 commission]. It was the bloggers on the Internet….
It was not the mainstream media that got rid of Trent Lott as majority leader — it was the bloggers that kept the drumbeat on.
: It was a panel discussion over shrimp salad — “Media Bias: Left or Right?” — with Eric Alterman of MSNBC.com; Janeane Garofalo, comedian and “social activist;” William McGowan, author of “Coloring the News;” Huffington, and the venerable Harold Evans as moderator. Tina Brown wandered the crowd (talking about her new TV show); Georgette Mosbacher and Ed Rollins were shoehorned into a table over here; New York landmarks Herman Badillo and Abe Hirshfeld over there. It was a crowded, seated New York cocktail party without the cocktails. All that and Gary Hart phoned in.
: What was most interesting was that the discussion didn’t want to stay on the media (gawd, discussions about the media can be boring). The discussion was dying to move to war. That’s where the heat is now, that’s where the buzz is buzzing. It is topic A.
: Garofola came off like a pathetic whining celebrity. She has been riding the talk-show circuit as an anti-war celeb and it’s making her batty.
She complained that it’s as “if actors are not allowed First Amendment rights, not allowed to have opinions.”
Oh, come on! If you were Janeane Dow, nobody would be inviting you onto FoxNews and MSNBC and to shrimp-salad debates. It’s because you’re famous and only because you’re famous that your blather is amplified.
: She didn’t stop complaining. Asked whether the press is pro-war, she said: “The press is biased in favor of rating and war equals ratings.”
McGowan accused her of “prattling banalities.”
: Even the polite prattle and blather here was soon too much for her. She just slunk into the scenery and said, “I think it’s best if I bow out…. for the rest of my life.”
Being famous and trying to save the world is such a damned burden.
: Huffington was Ms. Soundbite. She called the media shallow, toxic, obsessive, monomanic, repetitive, lazy, conformist, and risk-averse.
Everybody had a soundbite. McGowan called mainstream media “the PC press.” Alterman called it a “right-wing punditocracy.”
Hart complained that when big corporations took over the media “the distance between information and entertainment was dismissed and now it’s all entertainment all the time.”
They don’t love us. They really don’t love us.
: And then Eric Burns, FoxNews’ surprisingly boring media guy (why would FoxNews of all networks have such a starched dork as its media critic?), got up to talk about the media and bore the hell out of the audience. I sunk into my shrimp. In the wrong hands, the media can be the most boring cocktail-party topic you can imagine. That’s why people here would rather talk about war.
: And it was over. I got my coat and happened by Alterman, so I introduced myself. I decided to introduce myself as a blogger, considering the company (rather than by my business-card bio) and judging by the look in Alterman’s eye and the quick dismissal it was as if I has just introduced myself as a “poet,” an “activist,” or a “Raelian.” I felt like some kinda nut. I should have introduced myself to Huffington instead.