Yesterday we attended the Huffington Post's panel discussion on new versus old media — the same panel discussion the HuffPo had held at the DNC with far more starry people (Will.I.Am, Rahm Emanuel) but to far more boring result. It wasn't the intimate setting in Minneapolis or lack of the microphone problems that plagued the Denver panel that made this the most enlightening debate we've attended in years. Herewith, some things we learned.
1. Charlie Rose is not the king of moderators.
The RNC debate was hosted by MSNBC's Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. The DNC debate was hosted by Charlie Rose. No disrespect to Mr. Rose's prowess in a long-term interview, but his questions all ran along the line of, "So, the Internet … huh?" And he asked YouTube founder Chad Hurley several times to predict the future of Facebook (and not as an industry expert, if you know what we mean).
2. According to Peggy Noonan, old media is like a bully who needs to apologize to the little kid who he once pantsed.
"I think the old broadsheets, the old networks, mainstream media is in an awkward moment," she said. "They ignored, dissed, and sort of made fun of the rising world of the Internet over the past eight years. They thought blogs were silly." And then the blogs stole stories like Monica Lewinsky and Rather-gate out from under them. Boo-ya!
3. There's someone on earth who's even more addicted to his BlackBerry than we are!
While explaining how things have changed from the days he'd be "mimeographing press releases and driving around Phoenix and delivering them," Representative John Shadegg pulled out four PDAs, two BlackBerrys, and two cell phones, which set the panel aghast. Scarborough's natural response to this gross display of smartphones: "What's wrong with you?" and "John Shadegg, you still make me tired."
4. Speaking of BlackBerrys, it upsets Peggy Noonan when you use them. During her panel. Like we did.
Noonan said she was going to be "irrelevant and poetic" and quote Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti: "He said that the great saying of the sixties that was so vivid to him was 'Be here now,'" she said. "Wherever I go — I've been in Denver and I'm here now — I see so many people that are right here, right now, but they are not in this moment with me." At that point, Noonan's voice cracked. We hid our BlackBerry in shame.
5. Remember, your comments hurt! They hurt!
• Fox News' Laura Ingraham: "People are like, 'Do you Google yourself?' No, I don't. I actually don't. Because I probably would get upset."
• Scarborough: "I left Congress in 2001. In 2005, the Republicans asked me to consider running for Senate. It leaked out about twenty days later, and within five, ten minutes, there was so much trash on the Internet. My wife was crying. My kids just sat there stunned."
• Tucker Carlson: "I think everyone here is understating the amount of vitriol and dumbness online. I don't think there's any way to overstate it … I'm serious. I think it's actually hurting the country."