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Backlash: Look Who Just Dumped The White House Correspondents’ Dinner

CNN PRAISED the ‘comedy’ that a reputable news outlet slammed. Then again, CNN doesn’t have a professional reputation to preserve.

The Hill, on the other hand, has a reputation to concern itself with. And if the White House Correspondent’s Dinner has reduced itself to little more than flinging crude lowbrow partisan attacks, such an association is not good for their professional reputation.

They wrote a letter to the organizers of this farce.

After all, not every news outlet is content in limiting their ‘journalism’ to interviewing Porn Stars, Comey, and Clapper. (Or in the case of another dubious network, interviewing Sex Robots.)

Before we get to the letter, here are a couple of reactions, most of them by attendees.

 

 

Here is what a professional response to the crude Michelle Wolf trainwreck looks like.

Dear Mr. Thomma,

I am Chairman of The Hill.

The Hill, which has participated in the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner for many years, does not plan at this time to participate in the event moving forward.

In short, there’s simply no reason for us to participate in something that casts our profession in a poor light. Major changes are needed to the annual event.

“We work to ensure a strong, free press and robust coverage of the presidency,” reads your website.

“We share the belief, held by our country’s Founders and enshrined in the First Amendment, that an independent news media is vital to the health of the republic,” it continues.

We all agree. But that also means that the dinner must be non-partisan and done without hostility and personal animus toward the party that occupies the White House — regardless of who is in power.

We recall fondly how past dinners were tremendous spectacles of dignity that were enjoyed by all.

Comedians headlining those dinners were sharp and made fun of both the media and the Commander-in-Chief in a way that could induce laughs while not being so offensive and vulgar that C-SPAN actually cut off its radio broadcast, as was the case this year for the first time ever.

The kind of jokes told by this year’s headliner, Michelle Wolf, were out of line for an event that’s supposed to be fun — and fair.

Based on what Americans witnessed on national television at Saturday night’s dinner, a once-fine evening celebrating the strong, free press the WHCA speaks of has turned into an angry display and ad-hominem attacks.

A solid majority of journalists from the left and right have condemned this year’s comedian and rightly so.

The association made apologies, albeit not to the press secretary, only after the pressure compelled it to happen.

We hope the dinner can get back to talking about the importance of the Fourth Estate without the kind of ugly sideshow that completely overshadowed the event this year.

Along those lines, we will happily donate in the future to the WHCA scholarship program and hope this program can produce future journalists to fight for freedom of the press while remaining non-partisan.

In the meantime, without major reforms, The Hill no longer wishes to participate in future dinners.

Sincerely,

James Finkelstein

Notice especially the lines talking about casting the profession in a poor light.

Pay attention to his lines referencing partisanship and animus. About who the comedy in such dinners targeted before. And the fact that even C-SPAN cut its coverage. Finklestein reminds organizers that the evening is supposed to be fun and fair, not angry personal attacks.

And if you’re known by the company you keep, a news source that actually cares about being considered impartial would not be wise to join in with such an obviously partisan event.

Will they change the event to make it more professional? Or will they let it wither on the vine as reputable journalists jump ship?

Knowing their stubborn resistance to any correction… probably the latter.

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