Trump has done what journalists should have done: boycotted the White House Correspondents’ dinner

Trump has done what journalists should have done: boycotted the White House Correspondents’ dinner, by Stephen Daisley.

The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA), which hosts the annual gala, represents the journalists who cover the President day-to-day and awards scholarships to young reporters.

The dinner usually involves two skits: one by the President, who gently mocks the press and himself, and another by a broadly sympathetic comedian who ribs the Commander-in-Chief more or less respectfully while saving their most brutal jibes for his opponents.

This year, the laughter will be shallower still. Donald Trump has tweeted that he won’t be coming …

Celebrities had announced boycotts and Samantha Bee, a late-night comedian of the Trump-Hitler-applause variety, is even throwing a competing bash for opponents of the President. America doesn’t just have alternative facts, now it has alternative soirées. …

The event might seem innocuous enough; professional rivalries set aside for overcooked fish and undercooked jokes. However, it is this very clubbability, this did-Finn-get-into-Princeton cosiness that has drained the DC swamp of all public trust and confidence.

Seeing them up there, guffawing at wan presidential punchlines and opaque insider gags, knocking back the Bolly while a Hollywood turn cracks open vintage snidery about Christians, gun-owners and the flyover states — it’s enough to make anyone want to leap head-first into the basket of deplorables.

When you become friendly with politicians you start to convince yourself they’re human beings, and nothing good comes of that. …

Journalism in Britain remains a trade rather than a profession, despite the best efforts of universities with pound signs in their eyes. And yet it is our approach, sneering and scoundrel-ridden, that does a better job of holding the powerful to account. The cynical idealists of the US press corps, rebellious foot soldiers of the First Amendment, solemnly rise when the President enters the room. This, they insist, is out of respect for the office and the republican ideal. Try suggesting Westminster’s jaded hacks stand in the presence of Theresa May and you’d be laughed out the room. British journalists set out to be bulldogs and almost incidentally function as guard dogs. American journalists set out to be guard dogs and too often end up as lap dogs.

hat-tip Stephen Neil