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The Internet Presidency

WaPo‘s Chris Cillizza on Twittering the WH Briefings: ‘You Have to Recognize the Ridiculous in Order to Also See the Sublime’

hyperggggfx.pngWelcome to the Internet Presidency where Barack Obama gets to keep his Blackberry and journalists Twitter White House briefings. During the campaign, which among other things completely transformed how politicians will use the online world going forward, Obama talked a lot about how he intended to bring a level of transparency to this administration by making as much information as possible available to the public via the Web. His radio addresses, which are simultaneously posted on YouTube, are early evidence of this, as are many of the proposed changes on However! Thus far (two weeks in) it looks as though it is those journalists covering the administration who are the ones truly forging ahead.


Behold Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post who has been twittering Robert Gibbs‘ daily briefings at TheHyperFix since they began. “The old days of journalism where we simply put out the paper and assume people will find it and read it are over,” he tell us. No kidding. For the political junkies in the audience it’s a great peek behind the curtain into the very small, and previously very elite, White House press room. Also Cillizza, who demonstrates a near encyclopedic knowledge of who’s who in the room, where they sit, and their journalism background (also, from time to time, fashion choices), makes for a great tour guide. It’s a bit like a pool report but in 140 characters doses.

We caught up with Cillizza, who likens his twitter feed to a political version of Mystery Science 3000, to ask him what it’s like to be leading the 2.0 charge in the hallowed halls of the White House briefing room, whether Gibbs is actually controlling the Dow, and why he says there is no “right” way to cover the White House.

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Whitehouse.Gov to Open the ‘Pool’ to Everyone?


USA Today is reporting that the new, which launched at one minute after noon yesterday (a good four minutes before Barack Obama actually took the oath of office) will be posting pool reports.

This great news for those of us who enjoy reading the pool reports but struggle to get our hands on them, but maybe not such good news for the reporters who often infuse the reports with dry wit and/or a sharp tongue (what’s a good campaign story without a cardboard Obama and locked Kennedy pool house?). Hopefully all this “transparency” won’t also kill all the fun asides. UPDATE: Gawker has further deets including an illustration of the pitfalls of the reply-all key).

North Korean Media Couldn’t Care Less About the Inauguration

kim01.21.09.jpgYou know who didn’t let the historical inauguration of President Barack Obama alter their day? The North Koreans. In fact, they didn’t even mention it:

As of 4:00 pm Wednesday its newspapers and radio and TV stations had not mentioned the inauguration of US President Barack Obama, according to officials at South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

Eventually the media got around to reporting the story but it was, shall we say, lacking in color:

Barack Obama took office as the 44th president of the United States on January 20. The inauguration ceremony was held at the Capitol building that day. He made an inaugural address there.

That’s just how we’d describe the proceedings, too.

Twittering Inauguration Night

HuffPo Inaugural Ball Celebrates Democracy of the Line-Up


Last night’s HuffPo Ball involved an extremely long line up. Also, every single famous person currently in Washington for the Inauguration, including a whole slew of media types who one likes to hope should have known better than to subject themselves to a wristband process but apparently did not. Also a strange array of very delicious appetizers and a performance by Sting! We twittered the night and took some pics, which are after the jump.

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The Atlantic Celebrates Gwen Ifill’s The Breakthrough

100_3615.JPGLast night at his home Atlantic publisher David Bradley hosted a well-attended party to celebrate the publication of Gwen Ifill‘s new book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the age of Obama. Spotted among the D.C. heavy-hitters in attendence were David Brooks, Jim Lehrer, David Broder, Judy Woodruff, Tom Brokaw, and (time-less) Maureen Dowd.

Ifill, whose brother, sister, and pastor were all in attendance, remarked that when it came to the book “timing was everything.” When she had first taken the idea to her publishers their first reaction was “‘A black president? Yeah, whatever…’” And with regards to the controversy that surrounded her book after it was announced she would moderate the Vice_Presidential debate: “Of course, there was the moment when everyone decided they knew what the book was about before I had even finished writing it. I thought, ‘Well that’s fine. Truth will out. I will just survive it.’ And I did.”

Little bit of trivia: The Bradley’s home is located on Embassy Row and despite rumors floating around that it had once belonged to the Cuban Embassy, however host Katherine Bradley told us that its former occupant was in fact the last U.S. ambassador to Cuba. More pics after the jump.

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Twittering the Inauguration Should Cell Phone Signals Allow

So What About Tomorrow?

14fcc.190.jpgWhile the world focuses on today (t-minus 14 minutes and counting), there’s still the matter of, you know, tomorrow when President Barack Obama has to save the world.

He’ll have help, of course, namely in the form of all the advisers and appointees he’s tapped to fill various positions. One of them, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, got some very public advice from his predecessor.

In a conference call, outgoing FCC chairman Dick Wiley discussed his hopes for the new administration. “I’m hoping that the commission won’t embark on new regulatory [endeavors]… [and keep them] on the sideline until economic conditions improve,” he said.

Genachowski, a major fundraiser for the campaign, favors net neutrality and Wiley thinks he has “a desire to not have a lot more consolidation [in media].”

Boys and girls, the fun begins in three, two, one…

On the Ground Inaug Coverage via Twitter

The view from our Twitter feed.


FBNY Twitters Inauguration Eve