This weekend brought the annual White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner, where the press gathers to yuk it up with the people they're supposed to be covering. Frank James of the Chicago Tribune provides a wrapup that's as good, or at least as typical, as any. Not that he's deaf to the criticisms of press whoredom:
There's been much talk in recent years of how the White House Correspondents' Association's annual dinner has perhaps outlived its usefulness.
But there's probably something to be said for an event that may be of the world's greatest flesh-and-blood mash-ups. That, for no other reason, probably argues for its continued existence....
Everywhere you turn, there's someone who used to make headlines, is making them now or will be. It's one of the biggest parades of the fabulously wealthy and famous you're ever likely to see. Where else outside Hollywood can you see Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Martha Stewart, Marcia Cross and the Jonas Brothers gliding by your table?
Anyway, The New York Times now refuses to confuse journalistic ethics with a Comedy Central roast (the paper refuses to buy a table at the charade any longer), and the general reaction at the D.C. lunch table seemed to be: Too good to sit with us? Who the hell does she think SHE is?.
James makes a point of quoting this year's emcee, Craig Ferguson, who faux-twitted the Times in the roomful of twits:
"Oh, the New York Times. The New York Times unfortunately did not buy a table. They felt, I just want to make sure I got this right, they felt this event undercut the credibility of the press. It's funny. You see, I thought that Jayson Blair and Judi Miller took care of that."
(Ferguson got one of his biggest laughs at this point.)
"...Well, let me try this, shut the hell up New York Times, you sanctimonious, whining jerks. Look for my good review there coming up soon. I'm guessing Monday morning. 'He's a star.'
Actually, that wasn't just Ferguson's opinion. He tapped into a sentiment held by journalists in the room who thought the NYT might be missing the ethical forest for the trees on this one. Also, what does that make the rest of us, stenographers for the administration? (I know I'm inviting trouble with that question. As the president might say "Bring it on.")
That sound you hear is Craig Ferguson's sarcasm whizzing right over Frank James' head. You can enjoy James's stenography -- along with photos of Pamela Anderson, Karl Rove talking to Will.I.Am of
the Black Eyed Peas, George Bush standing on a chair ("This got a lot of laughs and applause") and Colin Powell pointing at Jenny McCarthy's chichis -- on the Tribune's website.
That sound you hear is Craig Ferguson's sarcasm whizzing right over Frank James' head.
You can enjoy James's stenography -- along with photos of Pamela Anderson, Karl Rove talking to Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas, George Bush standing on a chair ("This got a lot of laughs and applause") and Colin Powell pointing at Jenny McCarthy's chichis -- on the Tribune's website.