Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
30 April 2018
Get rid of the WHCD. It accomplishes nothing.
As much as I hate agreeing with Donald Trump, it’s time to end the White House Correspondents Dinner (WHCD). I’m not all that offended by what Michelle Wolf said in the name of “comedy.” After all, the Trump Administration riddles its messages with insults. So what’s the big ruckus?
But the event’s outlived its usefulness, and presents a potentially dangerous problem for journalists. Confidence in journalism – especially cable news, the most popular format – is at an all-time low.
The optics at the weekend’s WHCD was simply terrible for those journalists staking their reputations on being fair and balanced. Of course, it was a comedienne who made the jokes. But the optics are the same.
“Frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass if Sarah Huckabee Sanders and others are offended. “What’s the problem, snowflake?” But the WHCD belongs to a different era and it’s present form is plain stupid.”
Also, the dinner’s simply outdated. It began in 1921 and was a more celebratory affair. There was singing (read: drinking), a homemade movie intending to make everyone laugh and a speaker. It was an opportunity to present awards for outstanding journalism. It’s not even close to that even more.
What purpose does the WHCD serve?
But those were the days when the press and the Presidency were chummier. The line between the Fourth Estate and those it covered blurred.
Today? Holding the press to a higher standard is fine, and they shouldn’t be hob-knobbing with White House officials, including most presidents. It’s that perception of being out of touch that’s partly led to the public’s negative view of the press. That they’re no different than those they cover.
Of course, the press has itself to blame. It’s increasingly become more entertainment than serious journalism, as we’ve written before. There’s little difference between the cable news networks and Entertainment Tonight. So why not make it a roast, as the WHCD has done since 1983?
Frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass if Sarah Huckabee Sanders and others are offended. “What’s the problem, snowflake?” But the WHCD belongs to a different era and its present form is plain stupid.
It just makes everyone look bad. Get rid of it.
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