White House Correspondents’ Association president and Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason is fighting back against the voices calling for cancellation of the White House Correspondents Dinner. argues the dinner is critically important in the age of Donald Trump and “fake news.”
“It’s about an opportunity to lift up good journalism, celebrate up-and-coming journalism, and celebrate the First Amendment—that’s what we’ll be doing this year. And we do encourage our member organizations to bring as many journalists as they can, because that’s what the dinner is about. It’s also about giving journalists a chance to visit with the sources they cover.”
George Condon of National Journal also pointed out that the dinner is about the First Amendment and members of the media, not the president. “Every president is unhappy with the press, although President Trump is much more vocal and more personal in his attacks. But that doesn’t affect whether you have the dinner, because it doesn’t mean we’re honoring or validating everything a president says.” Here is Mr. Condon’s interview with Tammy Haddad on a Podcast Special on the White House Correspondents Weekend.
Recent news surrounding the White House Correspondents’ Dinner has focused mainly on media outlets declining to attend due to various reasons: an administration hostile toward the media, lack of focus at the dinner on important media issues, alternative scheduled events, fostering a too-cozy relationship between the press and the administration.
Jo Miller, showrunner for Bee’s “Full Frontal” show, has said that this year’s dinner “will either be called off or it will probably be the most sinister, awkward event ever.”
Former Association president Ed Chen argues the dinner helps promote better journalism. “If you’re sitting next to a Cabinet secretary or a senior West Wing official, you have that much more time to establish a rapport with that person, and that can only help, rather than hurt.”
The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner is scheduled for Saturday April 29. Proceeds from the event will go also fund scholarships for deserving reporters-in-training.