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.
CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour struck back at critics of the mainstream media, saying her “blood ran cold” seeing tweets from Donald Trump claiming protests following his election as president were “incited by the media.”
Several statements by Trump in recent weeks, such as calling reporters “despicable and dishonest,” “liars” and “crooks” lay the groundwork for a dangerous and unstable political narrative.
“They target the press and set the press up as an opposition to the government, and they do it by subtly ratcheting up the accusations against the press — so, inciting, sympathizing, associating, actually being terrorists and subversives,” she said speaking to CBC News’ The Investigators.
Amanpour continued that Trump’s language is strikingly similar to political leaders in non-democratic countries, where journalists are regularly criticized, harassed and even imprisoned for their reporting.
“And, as you know, journalists around the world are routinely locked up, put in jail, put on trial on phony charges. So that’s why that worried me very much, and I felt I had to push back on that and take a stand against that.”
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) November 23, 2016
Amanpour received an award Wednesday for “extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom” by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
LEARN MORE: “We Tracked Down A Fake-News Creator In The Suburbs. Here’s What We Learned” by Laura Sydell at NPR
Throughout the transition, much attention has been paid to those coming and going from Trump Tower in New York City. Among recent visitors includes executives and anchors from TV news, attending an “off the record” meeting with the president-elect.
Organized by Kellyanne Conway, the Trump campaign manager, attending networks include ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and Fox News. Spotted via a C-SPAN camera, notables such as CNN’s president Jeff Zucker and anchor Wolf Blitzer were in attendance. Also spotted was NBC News president Deborah Turness and MSNBC president Phil Griffin.
According to Brian Stelter, other meeting participants included NBC’s Chuck Todd and Lester Holt; CNN’s Erin Burnett; CBS’s Norah O’Donnell, Charlie Rose, John Dickerson, and Gayle King; and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, David Muir and Martha Raddatz.
The New York Times released a statement prior to the meeting announcing that publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. “and others are meeting with the President Elect tomorrow at the request of his team. There will be a small, off the record meeting first, followed by an on the record session with Times reporters and editorial columnists.”
A report on Politico also pointed out that even as he asked for a “cordial” relationship, Trump complained that NBC had used unflattering pictures of him.
But Trump also attempted to build the groundwork for a positive relationship between his incoming White House team and the media. One meeting participant said that a New York Post account – described as Trump giving the attending media a “dressing down” — was overstated.
However, Trump cancelled this morning’s “on-the-record” meeting himself over Twitter.
I cancelled today’s meeting with the failing @nytimes when the terms and conditions of the meeting were changed at the last moment. Not nice
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2016
Eileen Murphy, the top spokeswoman for the New York Times, said the paper “was unaware that the meeting was cancelled until we saw the President-Elect’s tweet this morning.”
For the second time in less than a week, President-Elect Donald Trump has again ignored precedent and protocol, travelling without the journalists assigned to cover him and his movements.
Hope Hicks, Trump’s press secretary, announced late Tuesday there would be no news or travel for the remainder of the day. However, later Trump secretly took his family to the nearby 21 Club restaurant for dinner.
A “protective pool” of reporters covers the activities of the president-elect for the media at large. This pool is overseen by the White House Correspondents Association, and is designed to guarantee the president is always covered while travelling.
WHCA President Jeff Mason has called on the president elect to agree to a “protective pool” during the transition. Not allowing this, he wrote, would be a “serious breach of historical precedent.”
In a released statement, Mason criticized the transition’s lack of allowing a pool of journalists to travel with the president-elect.
“The White House Correspondents’ Association is deeply concerned by President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to reject the practice of traveling with a ‘protective pool’ of reporters for his first visit to Washington since the election. In addition to breaking with decades of historical precedent and First Amendment principles, this decision could leave Americans blind about his whereabouts and well-being in the event of a national crisis. A pool of reporters is in place and ready to cover President-elect Trump. The WHCA urges President-elect Trump to allow it to do its job, including being present for motorcade movements, meetings, and other interactions. Not allowing a pool of journalists to travel with and cover the next president of the United States is unacceptable.”
@stuart_zechman The protective pool is always important to chronicle history, but especially in times of crisis. Like 9/11.
— Olivier Knox (@OKnox) November 10, 2016
Donald Trump’s transition team was criticized by the media for two breaches in traditional protocol. Both incidents centered on the President-elect’s staffers failing to notify reporters of the President-elect’s schedule and Trump travelling without his travelling press corps.
The White House press corps was not informed of Trump’s plans to return to New York Thursday after his first meeting with President Obama after the election.
On “The Situation Room,” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, a former White House correspondent, noted that “it is truly unacceptable. The President-elect and the President. A pool of reporters should be with them on a trip like that.”
Earlier on Thursday, the White House Correspondents’ Association rebuked the President-elect’s team for Trump leaving his travelling press corps in New York as he journeyed to Washington.
“The White House Correspondents’ Association is deeply concerned by President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to reject the practice of traveling with a ‘protective pool’ of reporters for his first visit to Washington since the election,” Jeff Mason, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said on CNNMoney.
The White House is defending a private concert held over the weekend featuring Prince and Stevie Wonder, saying the Obamas paid for it themselves.
While it is estimated that 500 were in attendance, many are surprised by how little publicity and social media activity the event generated.
Attendees included Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, singer Ciara, Rev. Al Sharpton, Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, American Express CEO Ken Chenault, entrepreneur and philanthropist Connie Milstein, and former White House Social Secretary Jeremy Bernard.
Read more via nytimes.com: Invitations to a White House Party: Signed, Sealed, Delivered, but Private
Read more via thehill.com: White House defends private Prince party
Franco Nuschese hosted one of the most memorable people in modern history at his Georgetown restaurant, Cafe Milano, on Sunday, November 24, 2013. Clint Hill is the Secret Service agent, assigned to Jacquie Kennedy, who jumped on the back of President Kennedy’s car when he was shot in Dallas on November 22nd, 1963. Franco Nuschese introduced Mr. Hill and co-author Lisa McCubbin, to talk about the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of President John Kennedy and their new book, Five Days in November. He told the story to the rapt crowd that included White House aides Jeremy Bernard, Ellie Schafer, and the State department’s Evan Ryan. Media stars Jim Lehrer, Wolf Blitzer, Polson Kanneth, Jonathan Capehart and Ruth Marcus lined up to shake the hand of the man who tried in vain to save President Kennedy’s life. The Vice President’s son, Hunter Biden, former congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, former protocol chiefs Ambassador Lloyd Hand and Lucky Roosevelt, and Diane Jones watched the video of the iconic photos as Mr. Hill described each second.
The crowd was meserized by his personal heartfelt recitation of that day and the days after. Agent Hill was assigned to protect Mrs. Kennedy and he demonstrated some of the same grace that she showed the world on that terrible day.
He told the story of how Mrs. Kennedy had asked the secret service agents to teach John John how to salute and how he would not use his right hand. Before the funeral a Marine colonel was asked to help entertain the young boy and he taught him to salute with his right hand a his father’s funeral, a moment no one can ever forget. The president and first lady promised John John that he would have a birthday day party when they returned from Dallas, so after the funeral she gathered their close family and had a party for him. Mr. Hill has not given interviews prior to this year and the pain and suffering he felt all these years was palpable to the respectful crowd.
Packed with Protocol: When the US Entertains at Home and Abroad
The information contained herein is quoted from Social Usage and Protocol Handbook: A Guide for Personnel of the U.S. Navy (OPNAVINST 1710.7 dated 17 JUL 1979) Here is the suggestions that form the basis of official US Protocol.
Receptions are the most popular form of official entertainment for they allow wide variance in the number of guests invited and in the formality of the occasion. They range from the very formal, which might be a reception after 8:00 p.m. hosted by an ambassador in honor of his visiting chief of state, to the less formal, perhaps that hosted by a military attache from 8 to 10 o’clock in the evening in celebration of Armed Forces Day. The most common and least formal affair is held from approximately 6 to 8 o’clock, frequently in honor of a visiting official or in celebration of some event.
Characteristically, receptions differ from the simple cocktail party in that they are intended to honor individuals or a specific occasion, the atmosphere is somewhat more formal, their duration is prescribed, and there is always a receiving line.
The thoughtful host/hostess who plans a reception in honor of a high-ranking official will consult with the latter regarding a mutually agreeable date and time before ordering invitations. As indicated in Invitations, the person or the occasion being feted may be indicated on the invitation in one of several ways.
Guests should arrive before the receiving line disbands, normally within the first 35 minutes of the reception. The order of persons in the receiving line may vary with the type of occasion and desires of the hosting official.
The sequence which the Department of State follows for official functions in honor of high-ranking dignitaries is:
Announcer –– Host –– Guest of Honor –– Guest of Honor’s Wife –– Host’s Wife –– Extra Man
The announcer is often a military aide whose responsibility is to announce each guest by name.
The extra man avoids placing a woman at the end of the line. It is his function to move guests into the reception area. Very often, however, this extra person will make the line entirely too long, in which case he may be eliminated.
An alternative which is equally appropriate and which makes the relationship of those receiving clearer to the guests is:
Announcer –– Host –– Host’s Wife –– Guest of Honor –– Guest of Honor’s Wife –– Extra man [Read more…]