The Reliable Source

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Bit of Navel-Gazing About the Media and the Campaign Trail

About 250 folks trudged through the bitter cold to the Folger Shakespeare Library to hear five pundits dissect the media and the 2008 presidential race at a Vanity Fair forum Tuesday night. Really! And it's not like this was going to be covered on the midterm or anything. Is D.C. a crazy place or what? Here are the CliffsNotes:

· VF's Todd Purdum kicked it off by asking whether the mainstream media are broken. Everyone (even the blogger guy!) agreed they are not. Dan Bartlett, the White House aide turned CBS analyst, said they might have a branding problem, though.

· Frank Rich of the NYT said reporting still matters to readers. And the Times doesn't care if they read it "in print or online or on their iPhone, or pick it up on their fillings from outer space." Ha!

· Blogger guy Josh Marshall (of influential Talking Points Memo) said it's hard out there for a blogger: Advertisers still favor print. Really?

· Rich doubts that Sarah Silverman turned Florida for Barack Obama, but wondered if John McCain lost Indiana "because of crossing David Letterman."

· Andrea Mitchell said she used "SNL" and Jon Stewart clips in her NBC reports because they "added texture." She dissed the Clinton campaign for trying to be cool with its Internet contest for a campaign song, "and they ended up with Celeste Dion." Celine? "Some Dion."

Another Big Event to Seek Out on Jan. 20

Forget about Michelle's gown or how to get a swearing-in ticket. The looming question about Inauguration 2009: What's Oprah planning?

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