Media Panel Before “Media Project”

By SteveK 

Members of the media descended on Michael’s today in midtown Manhattan, although this time it wasn’t just for lunch (or to be name-checked on FBNY).

Arianna Huffington
moderated a panel in conjunction with the premiere tonight of “The IFC Media Project,” a series hosted by Gideon Yago that takes a look at the influences shaping today’s media coverage. It premieres tonight at 8pmET on IFC.

Joining Huffington were Yago, FNC contributor William Kristol, former National Review columnist (and Daily Beast blogger) Christopher Buckley and former New York Post and New York Daily News EIC Pete Hamill.

Buckley recalled one way TV news has changed. “I grew up in a day when if you saw breaking news on TV, the President had been assassinated,” he said.

The panel discussed at length whether prime time hosts like Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly could be called “journalists.” “I admire all these people, they’re very smart, but they are not classical journalists,” said Buckley.

Huffington thought a “distinction” should be made between MSNBC’s and FNC’s hosts. Hamill disagreed with the journalist label, but went on to praise FNC’s Shepard Smith for “some of the best reporting on Katrina.”

During the Q&A portion, Kristol defended Olbermann’s hefty new contract. “I’m usually his worst man of the week,” joked Kristol. “But he is a subsidiary of the news gathering part of MSNBC.”

We also twittered the event — check there for more on what was discussed.

The video below shows the panel disagreeing on Iraq War coverage, and after the jump, arguably the most heated minute of the panel (as a side note, Yago later rephrased his use of the word “mercenary” and apologized for using it):

Related: FishbowlNY talks to Yago about his IFC show.

Click continued to see the part of the panel that caused Huffington to ask people to talk “one at a time”…