During a panel on—yes—the new media landscape (or, “How the Internet Ecosystem Can Improve Journalism”) at the Personal Democracy Forum just now, Time’s Karen Tumulty brought up the recent Pitneygate flap. Discussing the absurdities of political theater—presidential nominating conventions, and the like—with fellow panelists Frank Rich, Dan Gillmor, and NPR’s Scott Simon, Tumulty expressed her surprise at how much passionate coverage Pitney’s question had evoked. “These things have always been staged,” she said of presidential press conferences, a note of I-can’t-believe-I-even-have-to-point-this-out in her voice. “And they’ve always been of very little value.”

John Dickerson, for one, may beg to differ.

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