The 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner was the pinnacle of a weekend full of events celebrating and honoring the First Amendment and freedom of the press. Actors, celebrities, journalists, comedians, and countless others all joined together for parties, charity events and political activism throughout the past few days. Washington culture reporter Katie Rogers captured the essence of several of these events in a feature story in the New York Times:
On Saturday, the will to give a party held strong, even as the president prepared to gleefully assail the news media from a farm expo center in Pennsylvania. A long-running brunch, organized by the media consultant Tammy Haddad and held at a private home, drew a crowd of prominent political journalists, including Greta Van Susteren of MSNBC and Bret Baier, the Fox News anchor; politicians; and a handful of military veterans.
Unlike past White House Correspondents’ Dinner weekends, this year the President and White House staff were not in attendance, and have often taken a hostile tone toward the mainstream media. President Trump and his campaign hosted a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Saturday. Administration employees had also announced they would not attend the dinner in “solidarity” with the president.
The effect of the administration skipping the weekend entirely was not lost on participants.
“364 days of the year they’re competing with each other,” [Tammy] Haddad said of the news media. “I think journalists and influentials are looking at each other with a deep appreciation we’ve never bothered with before.”