The Press Should Investigate How the White House Correspondents' Dinner Exposed Their Industry

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Saturday evening Washington D.C. was all a-titter over the annual gala where the media gathers to celebrate themselves and how magnificent their careers allegedly are to be regarded. The stated intent of the night was to celebrate the preservation of the 1st Amendment and award specific journalists for work exemplifying this goal. The actual intent is to preen in self-absorbed fashion, act in self-congratulatory glory, and co-mingle with the celebrities they wish they could be.


It is deeply bothersome to see this gaggle pretend free expression is their cherished standard after watching them for just the past few months. They have been rankled to see Twitter opened up as a more expressive platform, written op-eds decrying free speech, continued to push for silencing what they declare to be misinformation, sat idle as journalist Matt Taibbi was insulted and held to demands by members of Congress, and actively cheered to see a major news channel punished in a defamation lawsuit.

And they want to sell us on the concept that free speech is a sacrament they all warmly embrace.

APTOPIX Biden Correspondents Dinner
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

The lack of seriousness of this affair is seen in the collection of celebrities in attendance. John Legend and his wife Chrissy Tiegan were perplexedly in attendance, wafting through a crowd of protestors as her gown was held aloft by handlers. The Property Brothers were prominently on display. The event kicked off with a recorded speech from Arnold Schwarzenegger, and in one segment he had his pet mule, a miniature horse, and Danny DeVito appearing with him. But journalism was the real star, we were told, and this was not a dog and pony show. Sure.

The purpose of the former governor of California’s appearance is that he was formally covered by journalist Tamara Keith, who is now with National Public Radio and is the active President of the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA). As she opened the ceremony Keith raved at the fact that for the first time in years, both the President and the Vice President were formally involved in the program. NPR recently quit Twitter in a spat with Elon Musk when he suggested it was a state-run outlet. Nothing better shows your independence from the administration than gushing over the leader who showed up to your prom and raved about your work covering him.


As we covered prior, President Jose Biden gave a speech littered with lame jabs, peppered with malaprops, and basically resulted not in poking fun at the press so much as mocking them directly for not covering him in any fashion approaching objectivity. No wonder he and Kamala attend enthusiastically; they prefer to foster this hands-off approach by the press corps charged with holding him accountable.

One of the main aspects of this night is to distribute a number of awards to the White House journalists. (Recently the WHCA stripped the historic name of Merriman Smith from its “Breaking News” award due to woke sensitivities.) Its Aldo Beckman Award, presented for excellence in coverage of the White House, went to Matt Viser. He was granted the honor by his fellow journalists for delivering a fawning report on Joe Biden and his family.

What makes this cloying honor all the more disgraceful is that in the description of why his work earned the accolades is this passage describing his process:

His sourcing on the James Biden story was unusual, plumbing emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop to illuminate the relationship of the two brothers.

Utterly amazing. This press corps spent years deriding the veracity of the infamous laptop, and even once they grudgingly admitted it was a valid news item they collectively have not investigated it properly. Yet when they want to find material for a glowing profile suddenly the sourcing of details from that computer is something to celebrate.


The winner of the breaking news award was Jeff Mason of Reuters, for reporting on the Biden Administration’s solar initiatives, filing a report a day ahead of the formal press conference reveal by the White House.

Following up on a tip he had received about a brewing solar initiative, Mason broke the news late on a Sunday night, hours before the White House announced it on Monday morning, with reporting from sources that clearly explained what the administration was doing and the impact it would have. The speed of his reporting had an impact on the market.

In other words, he was fed leaked information from the administration and people were able to make portfolio moves ahead of the formal announcement. The press gave cover for what might otherwise be seen as manipulative trading practices.

In the visual journalism category, the award was given to New York Times photographer Doug Mills for his image captured of the President just prior to making an appearance during a legislation event.

Says the WHCA of the Mills image:

The image is striking for its composition, symmetry, and use of light. The President’s expression and posture intensify the atmosphere with a sense of gravity, as do the gazing Marine Honor Guards who frame him.

It is not clear how this intense gravity was in play for what was a spiking of the football event, the signing of Biden’s tax-and-print-money-and-spending Inflation Reduction Act. 


Perhaps nothing underscores the sham of this even than comments made by President Biden, after stumbling through his jokes. He stood before a room of journalists allegedly preserving the 1st Amendment, and he began disparaging that there were outlets operating under that standard. He started by discussing the need for a free press, and then promptly began condemning some who were operating freely.

This is a new wrinkle in the misinformation scheme to silence. Is he suggesting by declaring certain news outlets to be called “the extreme press” then those will outlets denied the 1st Amendment? He declares “The truth matters”, and then promptly forwards the familiar lies in the press about books being banned and the misrepresentation of The Tennessee Three.

It was rather fitting to see this at the alleged celebration of the 1st Amendment by a group that has struggled with the reality of that fundamental right. It is fine for them to operate under that bedrock charter, but if anyone meets their disapproval then that right becomes quite fluid. There is no freedom for the “extremist press”, so say those who get to declare what is “extreme”.

If you possess a leering curiosity about this mayhem you can watch the full replay here.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to John Legend as “John Mayer.” We apologize to our readers for the error.  


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos