The Inappropriate Hackery of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner
If you paid attention to anything this weekend, you either love Michelle Wolf or hate her. Wolf is a comedian, a funny one. It was her honor/turn/job to headline this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington D.C. CNN called her 20 minutes of shtick “hugely controversial.” If you didn’t pay attention, here’s what happened: A comedian roasted several people in attendance and the Trump Administration, in effect, doing exactly what headlining comedians have been doing at White House Correspondents’ Dinners since comedians have been the headliners — a tradition dating back to 1983.
So what? Here’s what, so what. Comedy is fighting to survive. Jokes are either offensive or not funny. Always and ever. That, of course, is nonsense. The issue with Wolf taking the piss out of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is not that she was mean — she wasn’t — it’s that the Trump Administration and die hard Trump supporters are wimps with no sense of humor. Hashtag butt hurt. Because really, Sanders does talk and look like a softball coach from central casting. But one that's tired and hates her team.
Look, you don’t want to be poked fun at, then either get out of politics or put an end to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Since its inception over 90 years ago, this dinner, has brought itself way, way too close to the line that separates the media and the government.
A quick lesson in media and government relations
The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) was founded in 1914 by journalists who heard rumblings of a congressional committee selecting which journalists would be allowed access to cover the White House and the president. It’s a union of sorts. The WHCA is now the body that doles out credentials and handles such things as access to the executive branch. And that’s the way it should be. Self-governance rather than government-governance. A clear division between the media and its subject, thus, preventing collusion between the two to manipulate the the facts.
In 1921, the WHCA held its first dinner. It’s a gathering of WHCA members, their guests, and White House personal, high-ranking government players and other elites. Yeah, I said elites, and I don’t mean that as an insult. Not the way butt-hurt GOPers do. Consider the definition of elite. It doesn’t mean “libtard.” It means a “select part of the group that is superior to the rest in terms of ability or qualities.” Being associated with the White House, holding an elected position in the federal government automatically makes you elite. Maybe not an elitist, but certainly one of the elite. And good for you. To deny that is to say there’s nothing special about you, which debunks your entire bullshit campaign platform. But I digress… Where was I? Ah, yes, of course… Hacks eating dinner
The dinner brings together two groups of people that by nature oppose one another. The media and the government need each other to do their jobs, and, therefore, there must always exist a level of decorum and respect. Friendship is not in the cards here. If a journalist gets too close to a government official, they risk their credibility. It’s part of the reason I can’t trust Andrea Mitchell. She’s been married to the soft bag of financial mensch Alan Greenspan for years.
I’m a journalist. That’s why I don’t have any friends in government. They’re always asking me for money and telling me what to think. And I don’t need another therapist, especially one who will likely stab me in the back and fuck my kid in the face to advance their true agenda, which is power. It’s always power. Well, power and ego.
A quick lesson in power and ego
What’s the real point of the WHCA dinner? It’s an ego feeding frenzy. Or ego jerkoff frenzy. However you want to put it, that’s what it is. A chance for the elite journalists (FOX, CNN, MSNBC, Times, Post, etc.) to dress up real purty, and mix and mingle with the supposedly friendly opposition. I’ve worked for a slew of magazines and papers and online publications but never been staff on anything as distinguished as the Washington Post, so, maybe, what do I know? But my opinion is that fraternizing like this is a hack’s move.
When you consider the current mood that exists between the White House and the journalists who cover it, it’s even more remarkable that either side decided to show up. Trump, The Man, did not show, in a repeat of last year. He’s 0–2, and for that, I applaud him. Trump didn’t avoid the hackery out of principle. He avoided it because he hates the media and is afraid of comedians with wit and writers better than his. Trump can’t take his lumps. Being that the dinner is essentially a roast — a polite way for co-workers who hardly even like each other to hang out after work hours on a Saturday night. What sort of lunatics want to do that? Hacks, that’s the sort.
As such, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is more pathetic a work event than any kind of team-building game night or scavenger hunt even the most creative HR Director can think of.
Michelle Wolf did a great job. Anyone complaining about it needs to sack up — and that’s the non-gender-specific, universal sack up — and deal with the party that has been planned for generations. Nothing new here. Nothing to see. If they don’t want the roast, send an email to the event planners at the WHCA and ask them to get Jared Kushner to speak at next year’s dinner. He won’t say anything mean. He won’t say anything at all. Unless there are Russians in the room.
Russians infiltrating our media? I don’t think so. Only hacks would let that happen.