White House Correspondents Dinner Once Again Demonstrates Why It Shouldn’t Exist

As has often been the case, the White House Correspondent's Dinner is arousing some degree of controversy, mostly because of the comedy or lack thereof.

As has often happened in the past, the White House Correspondents Dinner’s comedy entertainer is arousing post-dinner controversy:

Members of the Trump administration walked out of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Saturday night after comedian Michelle Wolf ripped into White House staffers including press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the absence of the president himself.

A year after the White House boycotted the annual dinner — and with President Donald Trump holding a competing campaign-style rally in Michigan — director of strategic communications Mercedes Schlapp and her husband, conservative activist Matt Schlapp, were among those who marched out of the ballroom at the Washington Hilton long before Wolf’s keynote routine was over.

Footage broadcast live on cable TV networks showed Sanders sitting at the head table on stage stone-faced, wincing and at times raising her eyebrows as Wolf compared her to a character on the dystopian “Handsmaid’s Tale” and to an “Uncle Tom” for white women.

“I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye,” Wolf joked about Sanders. “Like maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”

It was a risque and uneven routine at first met with laughs but often greeted by awkward silence. Wolf laced into the president and repeatedly brought up his comments from the “Access Hollywood” tape. The performance evinced memories of when Stephen Colbert savagely satirized the Bush administration in 2006.

Wolf opened her act with the line, “Good evening, here we are at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; like a porn star says when she’s about to have sex with Trump, let’s get this over with,” the first of many bawdy insults.

Wolf’s other targets included Vice President Mike Pence, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, and the president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

But much of the room went silent with Wolf’s personalized attacks — and an abortion joke that wasn’t well received — and after the Comedy Central comedian joked that she wished a tree would fall on Conway, adding that she did not hope that the White House aide would get hurt, but only “that she would get stuck.”

“It’s why America hates the out of touch leftist media elites,” Mercedes Schlapp wrote on Twitter afterwards.

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer deemed the evening a “disgrace” in a tweet, to which Wolf replied: “Thanks!”

Echoing Spicer, former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus called Wolf’s set “R/X rated” and said the performance left Trump as the clear winner.

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who was honored during the dinner for her reporting, said Sanders’ refusal to walk out amid the barbs was “impressive.”

“That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive,” Haberman wrote on Twitter.

While the harshest barbs were reserved for the administration, Wolf also lit into the news media.

“You guys are obsessed with Trump. Did you used to date him? Because you pretend like you hate him, but I think you love him,” Wolf said. “I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you.”

Refusing to attack print media, because “it’s illegal to attack an endangered species,” Wolf poked at Fox News for the network’s ousting of hosts for sexual harassment allegations, CNN for “breaking news” and MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski for showing what it’s like “when ‘Me Too’ works out.”

While Trump pilloried the “dishonest” media at his rally in Michigan, White House officials had mingled with the Washington press corps in marked contrast with last year’s event. White House aides said on the red carpet before the dinner they had attended with Trump’s blessing.

Here’s the video of Wolf’s monologue:

The biggest negative reaction regarding Wolf’s routine came in response to several of her jabs at White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was there as a representative of the White House and sitting up at the dais in generally the same place the President would sit if he were attending. The jokes clearly made Sanders uncomfortable and from the crowd’s reaction, they didn’t seem to go over very well with the audience either. Additionally, many people who were watching the debacle and reacting on Twitter reacted negatively to that and several other parts of Wolf’s routine, especially when she ended up dropping an F-bomb that made its way past the censors on the cable news networks and C-Span. When the routine was over, the CNN correspondents who were hosting the network’s coverage of the event called it “harsh” and “cringe-worthy,” as did several correspondents who were in the audience.

As was the case last year, I didn’t watch the dinner again this year, and it would appear that I made the correct choice. Having watched the video of Wolf’s routine my first question was, who the heck is Michelle Wolf anyway? Wikipedia tells me that she’s a writer and performer on The Daily Show, which explains a lot since that show hasn’t been nearly as good it was when Jon Stewart was hosting. In any case, my first reaction after watching the video above was that it wasn’t really that funny and you can tell the crowd wasn’t all that amused either by the reaction of the crowd, which became quieter and quieter as the 20-minute routine went on. In any case, I can see why some people may have found some of her remarks, especially those that appeared to be directed at things like Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s physical appearance and especially given the fact that, unlike when the President has appeared at these dinners, Sanders didn’t get a chance to respond in kind with her own jabs at the press.

Leaving aside the controversy that Wolf’s mostly not funny routine, which is likely to be the focus of much of the discussion regarding last night’s event, the main focus of the event was meant to focus on the press, the First Amendment, and the reporters who are out there working on a daily basis to do their jobs. In that regard, it’s worth congratulating journalists such as Maggie Habermann at The New York Times, who has become a target of many of President’s jabs at the media lately notwithstanding the fact that he has granted her interviews several times over the past year, and Jake Tapper and Jim Scuitto at CNN, all of whom were among the people who received well-deserved awards for their reporting over the course of the past year, a year made all the more difficult thanks to an Administration whose hostility to the media has been unlike anything ever seen before in Washington. The dinner also served as an occasion to hand out scholars to journalism students who will no doubt make their own marks on the media and political culture in the years to come.

That being said, I am drawn once again to something I wrote three years ago about this dinner and what it tells us about our political culture:

There’s nothing per se wrong with the White House Correspondent’s Association holding an annual dinner just like many other voluntary and professional associations do, and indeed there are some things that go on at the event that are worthwhile such as scholarships given to aspiring journalism students and awards to reporters who have excelled in the field. The dinner itself has been going on since 1920 and for a long time it was just like any other professional banquet. In the past several decades, though, it has become perverted into a festival of vain self-absorption and self-congratulatory nonsense in which reporters and politicians gather together and seemingly forget for an evening that large segments of the American public looks upon them with disdain, and that events like “Nerd Prom” only reinforce those opinions. Things have only gotten worse as the event has turned into a media circus since the media coverage tends to create the incentives for the worst aspects of the event.

Removing the cameras, though, is unlikely to change anything, because what’s wrong with “Nerd Prom” is the same thing that’s wrong with the rest of our political culture. It is merely a reflection of the self-absorbed narcissism that characterizes much of the political world in Washington, D.C. as well as the worst aspects of the political media. Unless and until that changes, nothing is going to change at all.

The entire atmosphere of the event has changed somewhat over the past two years since the President hasn’t attended and the invitation list has become far less celebrity obsessed, and that’s probably a good thing. On the whole, though, it seems as though this is an event that could do without the wall-to-wall coverage it got last night, and it could also probably benefit from finding someone funnier to deliver the jokes.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Donald Trump, Entertainment, General, Media, Politicians, Popular Culture, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mikey says:

    director of strategic communications Mercedes Schlapp and her husband, conservative activist Matt Schlapp, were among those who marched out of the ballroom

    That would be the same Matt Schlapp who derided Notre Dame students who walked out of VP Pence’s commencement address as “children fleeing from political speech that they disagree with.”

    I’m not sure which is more amusing, the hypocrisy or the lack of self-awareness.




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  2. Lounsbury says:

    Rather does seem like a strange and sterile event. Perhaps rather better served to go to a non-publicized close door event.




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  3. michael reynolds says:

    Michelle Wolf was great. If people don’t like being laughed at as serial liars in service to a vile thug then maybe they shouldn’t be serial liars in service to a vile thug. Wolf didn’t pull her punches, nor should she have . What, to spare the feelings of people who regularly undermine freedom of the press? Seriously, fck Sarah Huckabee Sanders, she’s a bargain-basement Goebbels and deserves no pity.




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  4. My problem with Wolf wasn’t so much the content of the jokes, although I can see why some people might find the jabs at Sanders to have been over the top and mean-spirited. My problem was she just wasn’t funny in my opinion. I watched the whole video and I didn’t laugh once.

    To each their own I suppose.




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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ever look in the mirror Sean?

    Spicer, who quit as press secretary last summer, was visibly angry as he said: “It was absolutely disgusting. The idea that people clapped at that. It’s one thing to celebrate the first amendment but that, tonight, was one of the most disgusting and deplorable things I’ve ever heard in my life. The language, the references were way over the line.

    “There’s a lot of people on that dais from the media that need to answer for that. The White House Correspondents’ Association needs to answer for that. That was disgusting. The idea that viewers at home listened to that. I think they have a very distorted view for what the first amendment’s all about. There are a lot of reporters on that dais that brought her here that should answer for that.”

    Sean? If you want to see disgusting and deplorable go back and watch one of your press briefings. In her defense, she’s a comedian, you however are a joke.

    @Doug Mataconis: She delivered some zingers:

    “She was supposed to be an advocate for women, but it turns out she’s about as helpful to women as an empty box of tampons. She’s done nothing to satisfy women. So I guess, like father like daughter.”

    and

    “You guys are obsessed with Trump. Did you use to date him? Because you pretend like you hate him, but I think you love him.”

    “I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you,” she added. “He couldn’t sell steaks or vodka or water or college or ties or Eric. But he has helped you. He’s helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster and now you’re profiting off of him. And if you’re going to profit off of Trump, you should at least give him some money because he doesn’t have any.”

    Her delivery left me a little flat tho.




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  6. TM01 says:

    @Mikey: speech they disagree with vs sitting there being insulted.

    The only lack of self awareness here is by you.

    And, of course, Reynolds managed to throw in a Hitler reference. I guess I should just be thankful you didn’t mention Russia for once.




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  7. TM01 says:

    hostility to the media has been unlike anything ever seen before in Washington

    And that’s one of the reasons we love Trump. It’s about time someone stood up to a media that is openly hostile to anything not far left.




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  8. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Comedy generally has fallen on hard times. The whole country has turned mean, 40% are in a nasty cult and their progressive counterparts are busy forbidding words and policing thoughts. What Wolf did was drop a bomb in the middle of Washington hypocrisy. She told the truth. To appropriate Harry Truman, she never did give anybody hell. She just told the truth and they thought it was hell.

    I thought a number of jokes were funny as jokes, and more were funny mostly because of the audience’s Victorian, pearl-clutching uptightness. I found the routine refreshing and liberating.
    The media’s sympathy for the devil is proof that the DC press corps is still too into access, too cowed, too insecure in the right. The media reaction was weak. It was a media flinch.




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  9. michael reynolds says:

    @TM01:
    Oh, I can mention Russia if you like. Tell me, are you dumb enough to buy Trump’s bizarre rant on Veselnitskaya? Did you know that Putin ordered her to meet with Don Jr. at Putin’s orders and that she doesn’t work for Putin and that she met with Don Jr. to help Hillary because Putin was scared of Trump?

    Eh? Because that’s what cult leader said.

    Are there any Hispanics in the room?




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  10. Mikey says:

    @TM01: I’ll simply point out you’ve made a lame and obvious attempt to equate political speech with “being insulted” so you can excuse rank hypocrisy.

    No wonder you’re a Trumpie.




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  11. rachel says:

    I think her best bit was when she called Ryan a eunuch.




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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @TM01: They insult every one’s intelligence with every lie they utter.

    It’s about time someone stood up to a media that is openly hostile to anything not far left.

    You a funny guy. The “lamestream media” uncritically repeats the rights lies/fantasies/delusions verbatim and you think they are your enemy?




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  13. @michael reynolds:

    Again, my comment has nothing to do with the content of Wolf’s jokes. I just didn’t find her routine funny at all, and from the reaction of the audience, I didn’t get the impression the crowd did either. There are plenty of comedians out there who hit politicians like Trump and those who work for him on a daily basis and do it much better than she did. My comment is more about the lack of talent than the content of the material.

    Like I said, to each their own. In any case, I get back to the argument in my closing paragraphs above. This entire event is overblown in terms of the coverage it gets.

    I was glad to see journalists like Haberman, Scuitto, and Tapper, many of whom get hammered by Trump and his acolytes on a daily basis, get recognized for the work that they have done in an environment that has become increasingly hostile to the a free press thanks to the current occupant of the Oval Office. However, the way that CNN, MSNBC, and C-Span were treating this thing as if it were Washington’s version of the Academy Awards (hence the adage that Washington D.C. is “Hollywood for ugly people”) is a bit much and one of the many reasons why I tuned the whole thing out last night and watched the Yankees game instead.




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  14. Mikey says:

    Republican political consultant and non-Trump-cultist Matthew J. Dowd put it pretty well:

    If you are a Trump supporter or member of his administration and aren’t willing to condemn his vulgar and mean spirited behavior every day, then i don’t want to hear what you have to say about a comedian.

    https://twitter.com/matthewjdowd/status/990571759576453120




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  15. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    As to the general stupidity of the whole event and the overblown coverage, I entirely agree. It was too clubby when there was no coverage, and it’s way too much when covered. But DC people always secretly want to be Hollywood people, and the reverse is true to some extent. It never works because the similarities are superficial but not really connective. Hollywood people are talented narcissists who aren’t half as smart as they think they are, while Washingtonians are untalented narcissists who are not one tenth as smart as they think they are. Culture clash.




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  16. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: She didn’t completely bomb, though. The aside “you should have done a little more research…” was clever and probably the funniest thing she said all night.

    Even as early as two minutes into the routine, even she knew that she was tanking big time. This administration can’t even seem to attract competent people to satirize it. Sad. Pathetic. Low Energy!




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  17. @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    This administration can’t even seem to attract competent people to satirize it.

    The White House had nothing to do with planning the dinner though, this was all the work of the White House Correspondents Association which is a private organization independent of the White House itself.




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  18. James Pearce says:

    it wasn’t really that funny and you can tell the crowd wasn’t all that amused either by the reaction of the crowd, which became quieter and quieter as the 20-minute routine went on.

    I think the reaction of the crowd had more to do with Wolf calling them out as aiders, abettors, and, indeed, profiteers of Trump’s presidency than the humor present (or not) in her act. “You guys gotta stop putting Kellyanne on your shows.” Yeah, I can see why some in the audience didn’t think that was funny.

    I thought Wolf’s best jokes– such as the one about how Bear Stearns “went down on me without my consent”– were great, but obviously weren’t going to fly with this crowd. I’m philosophically comfortable making allowances for “locker-room talk” in the context of, say, a comedy routine, but that point of view seems to be quickly going out of style.

    To be sure, Michelle Wolf didn’t “attack” Huckabee-Sanders. She made fun of her. There is a difference.




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  19. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce: I think maybe you wrote this bit for her…haha:

    Democrats are harder to make fun of because you guys don’t do anything. People think you might flip the House and Senate this November, but you guys always find a way to mess it up. You’re somehow going to lose by 12 points to a guy named Jeff Pedophile Nazi Doctor.




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  20. Andy says:

    This is the kind of event that the 95% of people outside the DC bubble could care less about. Really, who cares? Like almost all of the outrage-du-hour beltway drivel, this “story” will be forgotten in a day or two.




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  21. Todd says:

    The “roasting” part of this by the guest comedians is what has gone too far. In previous years, I did enjoy the self-deprecating routine by the President himself. But in that respect Donald Trump is absolutely correct to stay far away from this event, as Barack Obama was legitimately good at that sort of thing, and there’s no way Trump could come close to measuring up.

    As for the clip from last night, I think I’m on team Doug. It seemed more mean spirited than funny, and on the whole is more likely to hurt (rather than help) the cause of those who are horrified by what’s going on in this White House. Journalists writing hard truths about the Trump administration is entirely appropriate. But those same journalists laughing at “mean” jokes about members of the administration is probably not going to be terribly good “optics” on youtube clips (and possibly campaign ads) over the coming months/years.




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  22. Charon says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    What people find funny in political humor is affected by their biases. I am totally incapable of seeing anything funny in Mallard Fillmore or Dennis Miller, but I suppose there are those that find them a laugh riot.

    I just didn’t find her routine funny at all, and from the reaction of the audience, I didn’t get the impression the crowd did either.

    Similar to the reaction a few years ago to Stephen Colbert. Colbert played really well outside the hall though.

    I have a sad that I did not DVR the show, I will not make that mistake next year.




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  23. Charon says:

    it wasn’t really that funny and you can tell the crowd wasn’t all that amused either by the reaction of the crowd, which became quieter and quieter as the 20-minute routine went on.

    Could it be (dare I say it) that that crowd was a bunch of snowflakes? Oh nos! Say it can’t have been so!




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  24. Yank says:

    <blockquoteit wasn’t really that funny and you can tell the crowd wasn’t all that amused either by the reaction of the crowd, which became quieter and quieter as the 20-minute routine went on.

    They weren’t in to it because Wolf was roasting them and what she was saying about them was true.

    Whether it was funny or not, Wolf was right about the media selling their soul for access journalism and profit. (looking at you Haberman). That is why you are seeing so much push back from DC journalists and pundits. None fo them care about Huckabee. This is all about them feeling uncomfortable because Wolf called them out on their bull****.




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  25. Modulo Myself says:

    It was great all around, actually. I had never heard of Michelle Wolf, but she was funny as hell and played with the awkward audience perfectly. This is how Democrats–in PG-13 language–should sound. Not about Trump but about all of the trash humans. Plus more abortion jokes–if you can’t make fun of the insane nihilism of Mike Pence what good are you?




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  26. michael reynolds says:

    @Andy:
    Well, it won’t be forgotten by Michelle Wolf, I guarantee you her agent is busy fielding offers at much higher pay than she’s used to getting. She’ll be a hero to the comic community. And she has a show coming up. So it’s win-win for her.




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  27. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Maybe – maybe not. She’ll certainly be more popular in lefty circles, whether that translates to more pay and exposure remains to be seen. I tend to think that comedic talent is more enduring than a one-off roasting of a divisive and unpopular President. However, I’ve never seen her before (don’t watch hardly any TV) and can’t speak to her actual comedic talent.




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  28. Charon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    And she has a show coming up.

    Thanks for the alert.

    Just realized C-Span has the WHCD this evening.




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  29. Kathi says:

    This is perfect to prove the point of the 1st ammendment. It’s there for a reason – because we don’t all think the same! If her jokes had been about different people then different people would be trashing her performance. Get over it – not everyone thinks the same things are funny and if you don’t think it’s funny and,don’t agree with her jokes then the people there had the choice to leave and the people at home had the choice to turn their television off!




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  30. al-Ameda says:

    @Andy:

    This is the kind of event that the 95% of people outside the DC bubble could care less about. Really, who cares? Like almost all of the outrage-du-hour beltway drivel, this “story” will be forgotten in a day or two.

    I understand what you’re saying. But you’re not right.

    Many people, mostly conservatives, will say that outside the beltway nobody pays attention, however, based on Trump’s inevitable attacks on the WHCA festivities, they will be extremely angry about the event too. So, ex-post facto, they care a LOT.

    Will the be forgotten in a day or two? Sure, Trump will go off on the usual: the Deep State, James Comey, Robert Mueller, the DOJ, the FBI, the CIA, Hillary, John Tester, Maxine Waters, the Easter Bunny, an ex-mistress Payboy Bunny, etc.




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  31. Andy says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Many people, mostly conservatives, will say that outside the beltway nobody pays attention, however, based on Trump’s inevitable attacks on the WHCA festivities, they will be extremely angry about the event too. So, ex-post facto, they care a LOT.

    Yes, Republican elites care about this because they are part of the beltway political bubble. That doesn’t change the fact that people outside that bubble don’t care, or are even aware of this event in the first place – chances are they are not. It’s just another exercise in the endless game of insider politics in DC and nothing more.




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  32. Charon says:

    BooMan

    Interesting take at the Frog Pond




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  33. michael reynolds says:

    @Andy:
    She’s a sort of American Frankie Boyle. If you haven’t heard of Frankie Boyle, here’s a brief primer. Boyle does not pull punches. I think he’s better than she is, but she’s newer at the game.

    Sample Boyle jokes:

    “It’s very hard to tell if the Queen is unhappy with you. She hasn’t really cracked a smile since Diana died.”

    “The tragedy is if Oscar Pistorius had no arms, this would never have happened.”

    “Not only will America go to your country and kill all your people, they’ll come back twenty years later and make a movie about how killing your people made their soldiers feel sad.”




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  34. al-Ameda says:

    @Andy:

    Yes, Republican elites care about this because they are part of the beltway political bubble.

    Plenty of people, Republicans and Trump voters, outside of Washington and the ‘Republican elites’ (whomever they are), care about this even though they did not watch it. They’ll SAY they don’t care, but that’s disingenuous. They do care because it’s just another part of the array of reasons why they are angry and resentful, and Trump will make sure that they know how much he hated the WHCA dinner.

    Those 46% out beyond DC? They may not have watched it, but they preemptively or after-the-fact hated it. They did NOT brush it off as a non-happening, a non-event.




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  35. Mikey says:

    @Andy: Wolf’s routine is up on Drudge (“SMUT STAND-UP SHOCKS DC!”), Breitbart (“PARTY NIGHT IN CAPITAL! WHCD COMIC FANTASIZES ABOUT JAKE TAPPER’S ORGASM…”), and–slightly less sensationalistically–Fox News (“Comedian doubles down on brutal Sarah Sanders attacks, as people rally behind the press secretary”). I guarantee Republicans far outside the Beltway bubble are aware of it.




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  36. Andy says:

    @al-Ameda:

    They’ll SAY they don’t care, but that’s disingenuous.

    You know that how, exactly?

    @Mikey:

    I guarantee Republicans far outside the Beltway bubble are aware of it.

    Sure, some are, as is the case with liberals who read liberal media. Fox News, to cite one of your examples, averages ~2.5 million viewers a day – less than 1% of the US population – not exactly a huge number in the grand scheme of things.

    I’m definitely above average when it comes to keeping up with politics, but even I wouldn’t have known much about this if I hadn’t read about it here. If you avoid the obvious partisan sources like Fox News, chances are this wouldn’t cross your radar.




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  37. @Charon:

    FWIW I am pretty sure you can find the video of the whole thing on C-Span’s website.

    To be honest, though, most of it consists of rather dry speeches, an awards ceremony, and a lot of video of people eating dinner.




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  38. @Yank:

    Plenty of the entertainers that have been invited to host the WHCD in the past have taken bigger shots at the media than Wolf did and they got big laughs for it.




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  39. Yank says:

    @Doug Mataconis: True, but this was different IMO. There has been a lot of members of the beltway media who have gotten really prickly about anyone mentioning their role when it comes to electing Trump.




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  40. Mikey says:

    @Andy: Sure, Average Joe who doesn’t pay a lot of attention to politics might not know, or care.

    But he probably won’t vote, either.




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  41. Mikey says:

    Returning to my first comment up top, it should be noted that the Schlapps, after their performative walk-out, still attended the NBC/MSNBC after-party.

    Can you spell “virtue signaling?”

    I knew you could!




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  42. Bruce Henry says:
  43. wr says:

    @Andy: Well, since she just landed a Netflix show of her own before the dinner, I don’t think she’s going to live or die based on whether Sean Hannity thought she was funny…




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  44. george says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The whole country has turned mean, 40% are in a nasty cult and their progressive counterparts are busy forbidding words and policing thoughts.

    Well, actually three quarters of people just voted for who they always voted for (or didn’t vote at all) without even listening to a word either candidate said. All the Internet talk, protests and so on involve at most 5 million people – which sounds like a lot until you realize its out of a population of 330 million.

    Most people find politics to be as interesting as listening to a lecture on the 2nd law of thermodynamics (which actually plays a much more important role in their lives than politics), and vote because they think its their duty to vote, so they vote for the party they always vote for without spending even a minute on what was said.

    Try it with some folks you know who aren’t interested in politics; ask them if they know anything either Clinton or Trump did or said – well over half won’t be able to tell you a single thing even about the one they voted for. Then try the same thing asking about the 2nd law of thermodynamics – the response is almost identical – they don’t know. I didn’t believe this until I tried it – it was weird, like finding out most of your friends are flat earthers.

    Though thinking about it, maybe that’s even worse than the situation you present – mean but informed people can be reformed, but what do you do with people who can’t even be bothered to think?




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  45. An Interested Party says:

    Hey wait, I’ve heard that being politically incorrect is a good thing…I’ve heard that offended people are just weak snowflakes…so I guess this is no longer the case? And, just as with the Bush Administration, it’s quite hilarious for one group of elitists to have the gall to criticize others for being “elitists”…now that’s funny…




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  46. Tyrell says:

    We had some friends over and turned it on. After a while we switched it over to the NBA game. The show was embarrassing. I remember when they used to poke fun at each other and themselves – all in good taste. Now it is short on good jokes and has too much pointed criticism.
    We later discussed the news and none of my guests reads newspapers or watches tv news. They get the weather off their phones and listen to am talk shows on the way to work. That’s it. No one cares about all this stuff. They see the Washington goings on and the news media as in another world.
    “Coney who?”




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  47. Andy says:

    @Tyrell:

    Exactly my experience as well. What’s important in DC and among the politically motivated does not always align with what’s important to everyone else.




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  48. al-Ameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    We had some friends over and turned it on. After a while we switched it over to the NBA game. The show was embarrassing. I remember when they used to poke fun at each other and themselves – all in good taste. Now it is short on good jokes and has too much pointed criticism.

    I watched the Warriors-Pelicans game – Klay, Dray, and Durant were spectacular.

    I watched ‘highlights’ of the WHCA dinner on the Sunday talkies. Trump is a zenith of the ascension of rude, crude, and boorish political behavior the Oval Office. It was what got him elected but his continued malevolence toward all others with whom he finds cause to disagree makes it hard for him to govern.

    Trump has no cause to complain, he brings all of this on himself.




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  49. de stijl says:

    @An Interested Party:

    An infamous Trump campaign* tee shirt was emblazoned with this pithy slogan: F*ck Your Feelings!”

    * (probably not official merch)

    I am crying salty ham tears over their hurt fee-fees.

    Also, remember GWB’s “comedy” bit when they had a staged pics of Dubya looking for the WMDs under his desk or in Barney’s dog house? That was comedy gold!




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  50. An Interested Party says:

    I remember when they used to poke fun at each other and themselves – all in good taste.

    I remember when American presidents would try to do everything in good taste…not so much anymore, eh? Perhaps that’s the point…




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  51. An Interested Party says:

    Also, remember GWB’s “comedy” bit when they had a staged pics of Dubya looking for the WMDs under his desk or in Barney’s dog house? That was comedy gold!

    Indeed, at least Wolf’s jokes weren’t based on something that caused the needless deaths of thousands of people…




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  52. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    The main problem of the WHCD is that journalists should not be partying with the people that they cover. I get that you spend countless hours travelling and going to these political events, I get that other journalists and even politicians are going to be your social circle.

    But your job is to cover them, and a Democracy requires you to do that as critical as it possible can be done.

    If a comedian is too offensive in this environment she is doing her job. You can say that Michele Wolf was unfunny. But offensive? “Too Cruel”? Say that she is the reason that the WHCD should not exist? Pleeease.

    And I she is my least favorite Daily Show correspondet/contributor(And that includes even the pretty unfunny Larry Wilmore).




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  53. James Pearce says:

    @Mikey:

    I think maybe you wrote this bit for her

    Ha! Yeah, that was right up my alley. The funniest part of that bit was her sotto voce aside at the end. “Oh, he’s a doctor?”

    Her cruelest joke, though, and it wasn’t even a joke, was “Flint still doesn’t have clean water.”

    After the event, in some concern-trolling over the Huckabee-Sanders “attack,” Mika Brezinzki tweeted:

    The WHCD should be about honoring the best in journalism. Enough with the comedians, enough with the late-night parties. These are serious times for both the free press and the public they serve.

    So serious, apparently, we’re now debating the jokes from a comedian hired to deliver a roast while Flint still doesn’t have clean water.




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  54. Charon says:

    Here are some good rebuttals to all the concern trolling like this post

    White House Correspondents Dinner Once Again Demonstrates Why It Shouldn’t Exist

    https://twitter.com/kathygriffin/status/990651595905028096

    https://twitter.com/whca/status/990773612226412545 (scroll through the comments to this one)




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  55. gVOR08 says:

    Best comment I’ve seen on the nerd prom and the defensiveness of the press, specifically Andrea Mitchell, is a tweet by VOX’s David Roberts via LGM,

    Absolutely un-fucking-believable. The president was on TV last week calling the press an enemy of the people and musing idly about using DOJ to prosecute political enemies. It’s like they glom onto this trivia b/c they just have no idea what to do about the big stuff.

    Wolf was doing the WHCA’s job for them, the job they’re too lickspittle to do.




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  56. KM says:

    Any other time or President, had the GOP demanded an apology Dems probably would have agreed with them. However, this is the new political tone and frankly conservatives are proving to be quite the snowflakes on this. Insults, mean-spirited “jokes”, demeaning nicknames, offensively phrased commentary with a “I’m just saying” justification – Trump or Wolf? Alt-right 4chaners or liberals defending the comic at the WHCD? Why does one get a pass and the other doesn’t?

    Conservatives are getting called out for hypocrisy. Yeah, maybe she should apologize in theory but they got a lot of nerve demanding it when Trump and Co spend their whole day doing essentially the same thing. It’s like the parent who’s kid gets mud and dog crap all over your nice white living room but god forbid they open-air sneeze in the vicinity of the dirt monster. Gross is gross and singling out a specific instance of gross misses the point: fostering an environment where gross in the norm means more instances of gross happen.




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  57. An Interested Party says:

    Who could have guessed that we’d reach a point where someone criticizing liars is supposedly worse than the liars themselves…




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