The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner is one of the most immoral events in journalism.
Every spring, celebrities, journalists and politicians have engaged in a romance that undermines a pivotal reason for the press: to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
Although President Trump may have his own reasons for not attending the dinner in April, I applaud anyone who avoids this breach of journalistic ethics.
The event, which is meant to raise money for scholarships and to recognize journalistic accomplishments, has drifted from its original mission when the association was founded in 1914. According to the association’s website, the organization held its first dinner in 1920. Calvin Coolidge became the first of 14 presidents to attend the affair.
As I wrote four years ago in The Washington Times, if the event were a government program, most Washington reporters would have been howling to shut it down. Here is the rest of that column:
Two years ago, the dinner occurred in during the Baltimore riots. Here’s what I wrote for The Washington Times then: The juxtaposition of the riots in Baltimore this weekend as “all-news” television networks delivered extensive coverage of the White House Correspondents’ Association’s soiree underlined the disconnect between the press and the rest of the country. For the rest of the rant, it’s here:
Somehow the dinner has achieved the “moral high ground” as some news organizations have pulled out in an apparent protest of Trump’s presidency, while an actor is giving an “alt” dinner.
The dinner will never have any moral basis.
It’s thought that the attacks at the 2011 dinner on Trump, who looked on stoically, may have played a role in his decision to run for the presidency.
Here is a report on that dinner:
“Donald Trump is here tonight!” President Obama began amiably. “I know that he’s taken some flak lately. But no one is happier, no one is prouder, to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald.” Trump could be seen smiling. “And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter—like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”
Trump’s smile was beginning to stiffen.
“All kidding aside,” Obama went on in a sober deadpan, “obviously we know about your credentials and breadth of experience.” At this, ripples of laughter coursed through the crowd of 3,000. The ripples built into waves, lapping at Trump’s table. “For example—seriously—in an episode of Celebrity Apprentice, at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks,” the president continued. “And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately you didn’t blame Little John or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night.”
The waves of laughter built into a tsunami. And then into a deafening roar. And then cheers! There was a sickly grin plastered on Trump’s face, as it dawned on even him that the president of the United States had made a fool of him, and the whole world was laughing.
“Well-handled, sir! Well-handled!” Obama added, driving in the blade.
“Say what you will about Mr. Trump, he certainly would bring some change to the White House,” Obama noted. On the four jumbotrons hanging from the ceiling, there flashed a cartoon depicting the executive mansion and its grounds transformed into a hotel/casino/golf course complex with bikinied babes hoisting cocktails on the lawn and a huge garish neon sign advertising “Trump. The White House. Presidential Suite.”
Well, President Trump got the last laugh. And, his decision not to attend this year’s event may finally bring about the end of this abhorrent media event.