The White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) annual dinner Saturday night featured a comedian who presented some jokes that were over the line, and personal.
The Association’s president has issued a statement distancing the WHCA from the comic’s act. And, the Association now will have a debate on how, or if, to go forward with the dinner, whose main aim is supposed to be raising money for scholarships.
Another leftover from the dinner is that people seem to be lining up either on the side of the comedian who they believe was exercising her right to free speech and those who feel the comedian was another reason the press has a liberal bent.
Call me, after a couple of days of ruminating, in the middle somewhere.
I did not like the comedian going personal to attack the White House press secretary and those jokes weren’t very funny either.
Other jokes were not to my liking either.
I do think the WHCA needs to review how its annual dinner is conducted, or even if, to continue it but remember its aim is to raise money for journalism scholarships.
The comedian, unwittingly, handed President Trump more ammunition to attack the media, even though the association’s officers neither condoned nor approved the comedian’s script in advance. They just hired her to perform.
It was nice of the association to “apologize.” That should stop some of the accusations being made about them but I think it did nothing wrong.
The media have now been writing or talking about the comedian’s act for about 72 hours. It was a bad act. Six months from now, though, we won’t even remember who performed much as the last 15 or so dinners.
Six months from now we will still know who the President is. If you’ve forgotten, the President is the one who:
Called Mexicans rapists and drug dealers;
Is trying to ban Muslims and refugees from entering the country;
Is trying to raise the rent of the country’s poorest people by one-third;
Criticized a TV host saying she had “blood coming out of her whatever”;
Equated white supremacists who among other things, chanted “Jews will not replace us”, with "good people";
Uttered many personal insults (Lyin’ Jim Comey, Low Energy Jeb, Crooked Hillary, Leakin’ James Comey, Sneaky Dianne Feinstein, Cheatin’ Obama, Pocahontas Elizabeth Warren, Mr. Magoo Jeff Sessions, Rocket Man Kim Jung Un) and other misogynistic and racist things.
The President has yet to, and never will, apologize for any of those utterances nor for announcing in very Joe McCarthy-like terms Saturday night that he has dirt on Montana Senator James Tester and if he used it, the senator would lose his election. What is that information? Likely never to be known. He also will never apologize for the more than 2,000 lies he’s told while in office.
But a comedian goes over the line and THAT’s what we’re talking about?
The WHCA did Sunday distance itself from the comedian’s comments. For me, they didn’t have to. They didn’t approve her jokes or endorse them. They did hire her and that may have turned out to be wrong... but the dinner is, after all, about holding the First Amendment near and dear. In fact, the association’s president, prior to the comedian’s act, gave a very moving and personal speech about her family’s journey and love for American values and dedication to the First Amendment. I have yet to see her speech reported on at any length.
But, believe me, Trump and his Chorus will make sure we are talking about the comedian often including during this fall’s election as he continues to attack the press as the “enemy of the people” or “fake news” or point them out to his rally audiences so they can jeer, growl and then threaten them. All of it, diminishing a most important institution in this country – a free press that keeps politicians honest.
Now, I want to be clear. I despise people who criticize Trump and the Trump people respond with, “but Hillary is so crooked”, or criticize the Democrats in Congress for slowing the process and the Democrats’s retort is, “so did the Republicans”.
In this case, however, I do find it appalling that the President who has said such ugly things about so many people feels he has the pulpit from which to judge others on the same issue.🔷
(This piece was originally published on The Screaming Moderate.)