Following CNN’s announcement they will not attend the annual White House Christmas party for the media, other reporters have expressed mixed responses and reservations over socializing with an administration that often lambastes mainstream journalists as “fake news.”
For example, New York Magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi wrote in an email to Politico that:
“While I don’t think it’s improper to attend social events with the president per se, I personally am uncomfortable with the idea of being a guest in this White House for a party (if I would not be covering the party), given Donald Trump’s stated threats to the First Amendment and general lack of understanding or interest in its importance. For that reason, my personal feelings are that it sends the wrong message to schmooze under mistletoe while our freedoms are under attack. That said, I don’t judge colleagues who arrive at a different conclusion.”
Another White House correspondent, who wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak on the record about this topic, said that he would attend the holiday event.
“I do get bothered [by the attacks on the press]. But I don’t view it as our role to engage in a fight with the president. I think that it’s our role to keep doing our jobs reporting the news and not treat it like we’re two warring institutions of American democracy. We don’t need to reciprocate that attitude.”
CNN announced earlier this week it would not be accepting the White House invitation, although they would send a reporting team to the event and report on any relevant news that may come out of the party.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded by posting on Twitter that “Christmas comes early!” because of CNN’s decision.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 29, 2017
The White House Christmas party is held annually, and is normally a casual event where reporters mingle off-the-record with administration officials and staff.