IFC hosted a panel on the state of the news media Tuesday afternoon at New York's Michael's restaurant. The panel, moderated by Arianna Huffington, featured Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard/New York Times), Gideon Yago (IFC Media Project), Christopher Buckley (Daily Beast, formerly of National Review), and Pete Hamill (New York Daily News).
The afternoon's most memorable moment came when Kristol and Hamill went head-to-head over images of dead soldiers in Iraq. In a heated exchange, Hamill argued that there is "no sense of what reality is on the ground by editing out corpses," while an incensed Kristol said that was "nonsense" and that Americans are smart enough to know what goes on in war without seeing "brains in the road." (WATCH THE EXCHANGE BELOW, CLIP 2)
1. Gideon Yago and Bill Kristol argue about the coverage of the Iraq War. Yago argued that it is incredibly difficult to find actual images of the way the war is conducted on the Internet, while Kristol claimed the claim was "ridiculous." Kristol based his argument on the claim that the coverage of the debate over the Iraq War and over the surge were more well-informed than the debates over Vietnam in the 1960s, but Yago fought back, saying that the message is manipulated when Americans cannot actually see images of what war looks like.
2. Pete Hamill fights with Kristol over showing images of dead soldiers in Iraq.
"There's no sense of what reality is on the ground by editing out corpses, for example," Hamill said. "Nobody died, there was no bloodshed."
"Oh, nonsense," Kristol shot back, and the two heated up in crosstalk. "You think Americans are such idiots, Americans wouldn't understand that people die in a war unless you show brains in the road?" Kristol asked.
"They think it's a movie," Hamill said. "Let them see a coffin."
3. Arianna Huffington explains the difference between the mainstream media's Attention Deficit Disorder and the online media's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
4. Christopher Buckley decries the way "the term 'breaking news' has become a little bit degraded." He describes how, growing up, "Breaking News" on TV meant that "a President had been assassinated or Fidel Castro had put missiles in Cuba. Now, it seems every time I walk through an airport...I look up, and CNN says 'Breaking News.' And what it now means is that a truck with flammable something has overturned."
The IFC Media Project is a six-part documentary examining the influences shapin today's news media. Episode one premiered Tuesday night on IFC. Watch a clip below: