Thursday, September 28, 2006

Name-Dropping from the National Press Club

The Pajamas Media panel    Sept. 26, 2006

Panelists at the PJMedia event, left to right (click the image for a larger version): Michael Barone, Tom Bevan, Mark Blumenthal, Jane Hall, Cliff May, Paul Mirengoff, Claudia Rosett

On Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of attending the Pajamas Media event at the National Press Club. An hour of cocktails, canapés, and chat preceded the main event, and allowed everybody to loosen up before the panel discussion began.
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Glenn ReynoldsAs I mentioned yesterday, I met up with Neo-neocon, Fausta of Fausta’s Blog, Judith from Kesher Talk, and Michael Totten before the event. These were people whose blogs I was already familiar with and enjoy, so we had interesting discussions before proceeding on to the National Press Club.

In fact, a lot of the evening was spent meeting up with old friends, except these old friends were people I had never met before. I talked to Pamela from Atlas Shrugs, Eric from Classical Values, the eponymous TigerHawk (whose family estate is not far from us here in Virginia), Seafarious from Rantburg, and Bill from InDC Journal. There are probably many others who are left out of this list, but the wine flowed freely that night and my recall of all the faces and names has grown blurry…

Roger Simon and Glenn ReynoldsThen there were the Big Boys: Roger Simon, the CEO of Pajamas, Glenn Reynolds the Instapundit, and Gerard Van der Leun from American Digest (and also a PJM correspondent in Seattle).

On the panel were Michael Barone, whom I have long admired, Cliff May from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and NRO, Paul Mirengoff from Powerline, and Claudia Rosett from the Wall Street Journal. Richard Miniter, also of the WSJ, made some remarks before the panel discussion.

Gerard Van der LeunNidra Poller, who has recently signed on as the PJM correspondent Paris was there with some family members, and it was especially gratifying to speak with her. She met Fjordman at the Hague a while back — she says he’s young!

Roger Simon, Gerard Van der Leun, and Glenn Reynolds all made remarks before the panel discussion, which was wide-ranging on the general topic of the “new media” and their place in our common discourse. The panelists and the questioners returned repeatedly to the topic of excessive “partisanship” in the blogs, whether it is a good or bad thing, and how it might be avoided.

Paul MirengoffEric at Classical Values quotes a lefty blogger concerning the event:

To their credit, PJM is smart enough to keep their big-name hyper-partisans out of the public eye. Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds, notorious for his self-proclaimed “moderate” position by way of merely linking to right-wing blogs on a daily basis instead of offering the viewpoints himself, served as moderator… The extremists who might have, you know, made the hypocrisy of the event’s premise embarrassingly blatant were kept in the shadows…

You know, I hate to say it, but he’s right. The extremists, the frothing-at-the-mouth members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, people like Your Humble Correspondent, were there in force, but they weren’t featured prominently. Pamela, of course, was irrepressible, and everywhere in evidence. But the rest of us… we were not so obvious.

Cliff MaySince I was in the front row, I kibitzed and talked back to the panelists during the discussion (you can hear me talking to Cliff May in Pamela’s video). During the question-and-answer session I raised my hand repeatedly — “Me, teacher! Call on me! Please! Please!” — but Glenn Reynolds was smart enough to pass me by.

You see, Pajamas Media is doing well, attracting new talent, and expanding its business. They have their advertisers to consider. If some of the advertisers actually knew what goes on here at Gates of Vienna, they might well want to pull their ads. So it’s better for all concerned if the Bushitler Halliburton Neocon Theocrats are kept muzzled and leashed at such events.

I understand why it has to be that way; they have their business model to consider. Pajamas Media is a great idea, and they have been very good to us. I have no complaints; I managed to have fun anyway.

After the panel and the followup chit-chat, some of us adjourned to have dinner in the dining room at the top of a nearby hotel. I sat across from TigerHawk, Fausta and Sandra (who is the VP for Operations and Planning at PJM in L.A.), and next to Roger Simon and Michael Totten. My head kept swinging back and forth like it was on springs, wanting to take in conversations on both sides at once.

Richard Miniter and Roger SimonLate in the evening I sat in on a fascinating discussion between TigerHawk and Claudia Rosett about Kofi Annan and the UN Oil-for-Food scandal. The amount of information that flowed back and forth was difficult to assimilate.

Just before I left I took one last shot of Richard Miniter and Roger Simon having an after-dinner discussion; you can click this one for a larger version.

I wish I had taken more photos — I realize now how many people I left out — but my little camera would have filled up in any case.

Atlas Shrugs and Neo-neoconHere’s one of Pamela and Neo-neocon (click on the image for a larger version). Neo still has that mysterious apple that drops magically into place when anyone tries to take her photo. It must be a neocon version of the hijab!

Dymphna hopes to make it to the next PJM event, which would be a bonus both for her and for our readers. I am an extreme introvert, but she is an extreme extrovert, and can make effortless conversation with anyone. She would talk to everyone in the room before the evening was through, and be able to give you a much more thorough report than I have.

So… Hello and thanks to everyone who was there; I look forward to the next event.


Zerosumgame said...


What? No photos of you?

Wally Ballou said...

Ha! Busted! The baron appears (looking very distinguished and with wine glass in hand) here (scroll down)

Baron Bodissey said...

Zero, Wally --

I knew there would be photos of me. I gave permission for them to used as long as they left out my real name.

Zero, I couldn't easily take photos of myself! So others will have to post them.

BTW, there's very little chance that any photo taken that evening would not show a wine glass in my hand.

Wally Ballou said...

Looks like Atlas brought her own photographer - she's in all her own pictures.

Frank said...

So how do I get a date with Pamela?

Papa Ray said...

Jeez, the contrast between this event and the one the milbloggers had a few weeks ago.

I know which one I would have attended if I had the money and the time.

Papa Ray

Baron Bodissey said...

ScottSA --

You have to get in line. And then you have to get past her husband.

That last part's a little dicey...

Baron Bodissey said...

Wally, Atlas makes sure she gets she gets into every photo. She likes to have her picture taken with everyone.

Dymphna said...

Papa Ray, you're right. Pamela is not only eye candy, she's intelligent, energetic, and she's doing her part for the party, i.e. she has four kids.

For myself, I sure wish I could have thought of an excuse to sneak into the milbloggers' bash. Always was a sucker for a military man... Come to think of it, that predilection led me astray in choosing my first husband. Turns out you *can* go wrong picking a Marine. Still love the Corps, though.

In Russet Shadows said...

I'm not going to say that the Gates folks have made the wrong decision in going with PJM, but I, as someone who was entertaining the concept of knocking on their doors, have thrown that idea out the window. Now they have to hide who they are? Now we are ugly daughters to be locked in the tower for the cardinal sin of speaking the truth? Is PJM then just more of a politically correct force, descended upon the blogosphere to gag the firebreathers (and rake in the cash at our expense)? Screw that. Screw PJM. If they're going to be embarassed of Gates, then I'm embarassed of them. Truth has become unsightly in the U.S.A, and PJM hasn't helped.

Baron Bodissey said...

Russet Shadows --

You are overreacting. PJM doesn't "hide" us. They link to our posts frequently from their main page, and we have been "blog of the day" more than once.

They are trying to represent all points of view, and I think that's a smart move. Because of the nature of the alternative media, they will tend to be more conservative than liberal, since the left already owns the MSM, and doesn't need the blogs to get the word out.

The big blogs, which were the ones mostly represented at the event, tend to be more middle-of-the-road than small blogs like us. That makes sense, because they appeal to a wider group, and not to a niche market.

And Glenn mainly called on reporters, students, and other outsiders, and skipped the other PJM bloggers. That also makes sense, since this was an event designed to interface with the outside world.

I was just amused by the lefty blog's reaction, and frustrated because I wanted a chance to run my big mouth at the microphone. Glenn and PJM didn't do anything wrong; far from it.

You are making the same mistake the Left does all the time: jumping on our natural allies just because they aren't "pure" enough, or because their motives are other than completely altruistic.

That's not the way to run a business, nor is it the way to take back the culture.

We need to gather a large and somewhat disparate group of people who can agree on some core principles. And that's what's happening with PJM.

Cut 'em some slack.

Zerosumgame said...


I saw the photo of Baron.

He looks a little more like an academe than I had pictured him.

Baron Bodissey said...


That's because I combed my hair and put on a tie to go out in public. You should see me now!

Zerosumgame said...


I live close to a college town, and often find myself eating out at places where I see faculty members. I see them there without ties, and as for uncombed hair -- well, that is not uncommon among professors, especially in the sciences....

I bet you still look like an academe.

All you need is a cardigan, a pipe, a tweed jacket with elbow patches, and a copy of a Noam Chomsky book.

Papa Ray said...

Well, I like and respect the Baron and his better half, and that counts for something, as I don't like many, despise more and respect few.

But, I'm not alone, the gang of guys in the real world I run with, vets all, feel the same. The bunch I hang with on the net over at Rednecks Revenge are about the same too. Except there we allow a few middle of the pile and some of the ones that are trying not to fall off the left side.

But we pick on them all, including ourselves.

PJM is a little high flooting for me, but I see the Baron's point, cause even though there are a lot of us Rednecks down here in the south, the rest of this great Republic is a little more civilized.

Don't make them better folks tho, just different.

But when the sh!t hits the fan, we will be here for all of ya'll, Americans all.

Papa Ray
West Texas