Earlier today, the Independent Film Channel hosted a panel discussion pegged to tonight’s premiere of The IFC Media Project. Moderated by Arianna Huffington, the panel included Bill Kristol, Christopher Buckley, Pete Hamill, and Project host Gideon Yago. The conversation was—unsurprisingly, considering its participants—smart and sometimes confrontational. Below, a selection of some of the saucier bits:


On the Media’s Old/New Divide

Kristol: “I’m a fan of the blogosphere—I always defend it.”

Huffington: “The mainstream media are suffering from attention deficit disorder—and the online media are suffering from OCD.”

Buckley: “Blogging is still an utterly new thing to me. It sounds like a disease.”

Buckley on reported blogs: “It amounts to a kind of wiki-media….I don’t quite know whether or not to trust them. But caveat emptor.”

Kristol, comparing today’s media to those of prior years: “The ‘good old days’ weren’t that good….We would be shocked [today] at how utterly dependent people were on the decisions of a few people.”


On Pundits

Hamill: In the past, “we believed that the columnist was like the soloist in the band: he stood up, blew a few notes, and sat down…but he was not the band.”

Huffington to Buckley, referring to his much-publicized endorsement of Obama: “Congratulations on single-handedly assuring the victory of Barack Obama.”

Buckley: “Yes, I’m waiting for my ambassadorial appointment.”

Kristol: “I don’t like Keith Olbermann. I think I’m usually his ‘worst person of the week’—forgive me, ‘worst person in the world.’”


On Journalism’s Job

Huffington: “Many people consider that the role of journalism is to be ‘fair and balanced.’”

Kristol: “That’s a good phrase. You should use it in marketing.”
Hamill: “The point of good journalism is to make people say one of two things: ‘Hey, I didn’t know that,’ or ‘Hey, I didn’t think of that.’”

Huffington: “I’d add to that one more thing: ‘Hey, I want to change that.’”


On the Future of Journalism

Hamill on young journalists: “The fundamental desire to be Don Quixote and slay dragons is alive and well.”

Hamill on young journalists: “They’re lucky because they’re at the point when print and paper are fading, and the Internet is going to be your primary source for news.”

Hamill on laid off/bought out journalists: “Grab those people. They will help the young people. They’ll hang out with them in the bar after work, and say, ‘You know, schmuck, that third paragraph should have been the first paragraph.’”

Buckley: “Everyone now has his or her bully pulpit…but there’s going to be a lot of bull.”

Hamill on journalism: “This is a moment to stand up and say, ‘Let’s do this goddamn thing, and make it work for as many people as we can.’”

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.