President Trump may be ruining one of Washington’s most glitzy affairs.
This year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the soirée that raises scholarship money for journalism students and typically draws in random and big Hollywood stars, could wind up being the least important party of the year with publications dropping out like flies.
The New York Times has always avoided the dinner in principle. But you can still find NYT reporters at WHCD parties.
But this year, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair will not be hosting parties. BuzzFeed will not buy the $300 tickets to the dinner, but will host its “alternative” party, which the White House may literally think of as the “Opposition Party.”
On the other hand, this makes room for newer outlets to host events such as IJR and Breitbart News (which apparently has a decent amount of pull with this White House considering Steve Bannon used to be the site’s Chairman) to fill in the gaps.
The event that is meant to be light-hearted night of fun for the Administration and White House reporters is already tension-filled considering Trump’s man whisperer Steve Bannon — dubbed by TIME as the “manipulator” — recently said the media needs to “keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile.” He said reporters should feel humiliated by how wrong they were in their coverage of the recent presidential election.
Trump never hides his seething contempt for the media. He takes digs any chance he gets. So its hard to imagine journalists willingly giving the new POTUS a podium to stick the knife in more.
The NYT — which first reported the news of a party fallout — reported that Vanity Fair‘s Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter will be spending the weekend fishing. The Daily Caller’s founder Tucker Carlson, who hosts Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” has always proudly skipped the cozy affair.
WHCA Prez Jeff Mason, who works for Reuters, released a statement Thursday to assure that the dinner will go on. The date is set for April 29.
This means with or without Trump’s support or participation.
Subject: Note to members about this year’s WHCA dinner
To our members: We’ve received some queries about the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which will be the first since the new administration took office. The White House Correspondents’ Association will hold its annual dinner on April 29 at the Washington Hilton. This year, as we do every year, we will celebrate the First Amendment and the role an independent press plays in a healthy republic. We will also reward some of the finest political reporting of the past year while using our scholarship program to highlight and support up-and-coming journalists who are the future of our profession. In the meantime, the WHCA will pursue its core mission of advocating for journalists’ ability to ask questions of government officials, push for transparency from the presidency, and help Americans hold the powerful to account. This is a responsibility that we have taken seriously for more than 100 years and will continue to uphold.
-Jeff Mason, WHCA president