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Harsh Times in Sun Valley

“Ultra-quiet” is the word coming out of Sun Valley and Herb Allen’s annual retreat, but I don’t believe it. (I never believe those big media guys.)

This morning everyone got up and listened to a panel about how new media is going to dominate the world, whatever’s left of it. Disney CEO Bob Iger, IAG’s Barry Diller and Liberty Media’s John Malone educated the crowd of men in cashmere and shorts about the universe of technology that is threatening their dominance every day, and that no one seems to be able to figure out as a business proposition.

(I’d bet on Malone and Diller, from that crowd. No offense, Bob.)

What I’d love to tell you is the juicy old media/new media deal that’s going to emerge from these few days. Will Yahoo find a way to make sweet love to Microsoft again?

Is the ever-elusive Vivi Nevo still whispering sweet nothings into the ears of Ron Perelman and Rupert Murdoch? To what end? And how come Ashton Kutcher isn’t here? (He’s everywhere else.)

But I can’t. The Myspace folks are there, trotting after Murdoch, who apparently swore ongoing fealty today to his limping online venture. At the same time, he spurned speculation about his interest in buying Twitter. (He’s also uninterested in buying the LA Times, but we digress.)

Where’s a good capitalist when you need one?

Meanwhile Twitter co-founder Evan Williams is swanning around in the sunshine, waiting to be pinned. Many believe his company is the most ripe for the picking,. a social networking tool that can challenge governments (Iran),  and alert people from airplane emergencies (Turkey, the Hudson River) .

But it’s a sure bet that by the time the latest must-have tech world tool gets circled, sniffed and bought by big media, it’s already started to lose its cool quotient. That’s a perennial problem. Online users can smell a square – or a marketing ploy – from a mile off.

And here again, we’re not sure how this one makes money. Which won’t necessarily be any barrier to a buyer.

The folks in Sun Valley love to make deals.

On Thursday NBC-Universal’s Jeff Immelt will be on a panel with Sony’s Sir Howard Stringer. The topic: How to manage companies in hard times.

Hard times in Sun Valley. What a thought.