Sunday, April 29, 2018

Michelle Wolf and the White House Correspondents' Dinner

These people are not too smart. You can't keep denigrating and vilifying the very people who elected the current president. And you especially can't come off as mean and cold-hearted --- "caustic," in the words of some.

I didn't watch the dinner, which was apparently available on C-SPAN. I was reading and scrolling Twitter, and oh boy, that was some backlash against "comedienne" Michelle Wolf.

I did read the transcript, and I gotta say, she's not very funny. Maybe one or two lines might have gotten a laugh out of me, especially with a good delivery. But she was mean-spirited and foul-mouthed. It's just not very funny.

See WaPo, "AAnalysis: Michelle Wolf's caustic comedy routine at the White House correspondents' dinner, annotated."

Also, from Margaret Sullivan, "For the sake of journalism, stop the White House correspondents’ dinner."

And at Politico, "Journalists distance themselves from Correspondents’ Dinner after Wolf routine":
Comedian Michelle Wolf's biting routine at Saturday‘s 2018 White House Correspondents' Association dinner has triggered one of Washington's most recurring conversations: Is one night of pomp and politics worth the headaches that usually follow?

Almost immediately after Wolf, best known as a correspondent on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,“ left the stage at the Washington Hilton, those who pack into the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room on a daily basis began to distance themselves from her performance. A number of journalists deemed her act too caustic.

"The spirit of the event had always been jokes that singe but don’t burn. Reporters who work with her daily appreciate that @presssec was there," NBC News White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell wrote on Twitter.

At its core, the dinner is supposed to be a celebration of the First Amendment, an opportunity to laud the young journalists who have won the association's scholarships, and a place to applaud the current journalists whose work illuminates the public's understanding of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

“My goal in putting together last night's dinner was to unify the room and the country around journalism and the First Amendment and I shared what I believe about those subjects in my own remarks,” Margaret Talev, a Bloomberg correspondent and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, told POLITICO.

“The association by tradition does not preview or censor the entertainer's remarks,” Talev continued. “Some of them made me uncomfortable and did not embody the spirit of the night. And that is protected by the First Amendment. I appreciated Sarah Sanders for joining us at the head table and her grace through the program.”

A persistent criticism of the glitzy dinner is that it fuels perceptions of excessive chumminess between the press and the government officials they’re expected to hold accountable, a rationale that’s prompted the New York Times to back out more than a decade ago. But some journalists feared Saturday’s dinner could lead to a different perception, of being seen as the opposition to the president.

“If the #WHCD dinner did anything tonight, it made the chasm between journalists and those who don't trust us, even wider,” tweeted Meg Kinnard, a South Carolina-based reporter for The Associated Press. “And those of us based in the red states who work hard every day to prove our objectivity will have to deal with it.”

New York Times White House reporter Peter Baker concluded on Twitter after the event, “Unfortunately, I don't think we advanced the cause of journalism tonight.” And Baker suggested in a reply to comedian Kathy Griffin that he’d “vote to leave the comedy acts to comedy shows and stick to journalism at journalism dinners.”

"First Amendment would probably be OK without the dinner," CNBC's John Harwood added.
Still more, at Twitchy, "DAMN! AP’s Meg Kinnard dropped the MOTHER of all truth-bombs on the WHCD and Lefties can’t DEAL."