Sunday, June 28, 2009

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The Elite Villager Media was never more apparent than on CNN's Reliable Sources with Über-villager Howie Kurtz, when HuffPost's Nico Pitney challenged Dana Milbank's credibility.

Here is Nico in his own words:

This morning, Dana Milbank, Amanda Carpenter, and I appeared on CNN's Reliable Sources, hosted by Howard Kurtz.

It was a spirited affair and folks can draw their own conclusions. Here's the video:

The only thing that surprised me was when Dana turned to me after our initial sparring and called me a "dick" in a whispered tone (the specific phrase was, I believe, "You're such a dick"). Howie Kurtz wrote on Twitter that he didn't hear it, which is understandable -- he was doing the lead-in for the next part of the segment on the ABC White House special. But it happened (I urge Howie to watch the video of the panel during the ABC intro) and it was frankly pretty odd.

For those interested, here are the citations for some of the points I made:

-- Greg Sargent's piece on Milbank's write-up of the "Mission Accomplished" moment.

-- Lynn Sweet's reporting on Milbank's questions to Obama about bathing suit pictures:

Milbank's ass-hattedness is just silly, and he has no defense against Nico's points except bluster. This has not gone unnoticed in the lefty bloggersphere. Here's my friend Nicole Belle at C&L:
On Reliable Sources this morning, Howard Kurtz brings on Huffington Post's Nico Pitney to deal with two naysayers eager to scream "collusion!" over Nico's question to President Obama this week regarding the Iranian election: WaPo's Dana Milbank and TownHall's Amanda Carpenter. The fact that hyper-partisan Carpenter is even asked her opinion shows how little interest Kurtz had in an honest dialog. Seriously, Amanda, the video shows Nico in the back of the room behind other reporters--your complaining about Nico being "pushed to the front of the room" is discredited just like all your other "facts"--who you gonna believe? Amanda or your lyin' eyes?

But it's Dana Milbank who really gets his bitchy little knickers in a twist. He starts the segment incredibly defensive. It's hard to tell whether Dana is just miffed that he didn't get called on or that some upstart blogger who doesn't get the same Beltway cocktail party invitations asked a better question than he ever has.

Nicole links to Jamison Foser at Media Matters:
Here's the thing: Nobody is actually claiming that Obama knew what question Pitney was going to ask. The allegations of "coordination" and "staging" are premised on the idea that the Obama folks knew what topic Pitney would ask about - Iran.

Well, it isn't all that unusual for a president to have a pretty good idea what topic a reporter is going to ask about. If you call on a reporter from Stars & Stripes or Army Times, you'll probably get a question relating to the military. Call on a Washington Post reporter, and you'll likely get a question about steroids in baseball or haircuts. Call on a New York Times reporter, and there's a pretty good chance he'll ask what enchants you about the White House. Call on a Huffington Post reporter, and they'll probably ask something a little more substantive.

But here's where the complaining gets really ridiculous. David Gregory hosts Meet the Press. Do you know what happens when Gregory and his staff book guests for Meet the Press? Much of the time, they tell guests what topics they want to discuss. That's right - they coordinate! The whole thing is staged! Quick, someone convene an ethics panel!

Milbank might still be smarting, however, from the criticism of his creepy vlog called Mouthpiece Theater, in which he lampoons . . . himself?

Yet Milbank, and Cillizza consider them above mere bloggers. Kids, get a grip.