Not sure if you caught this one, but: the White House Correspondents’ Dinner was on Saturday night, and it was very controversial! This year’s comedian, Michelle Wolf, made some jokes that cut a little too close for comfort, both for the members of the Trump administration on the receiving end and DC journalists who just wanted to get drunk in the same room as celebrities and the people they are supposed to cover.
So now, all these serious journalists are racking their brains about how to change the event up for next year to make it less bad.
As CNN’s Brian Stelter reported on Monday, here are some of the proposals being floated:
— Invite [a] pair of comedians, one with a liberal bent and one with a conservative bent.
— Book a singer as the featured entertainer instead of a comedian. (Aretha Franklin performed in 1999 after Clinton-era dinner controversy.)
CLEAN versions only. (And good luck finding an artist deemed inoffensive enough for all parties involved.)
— Put the dinner on pause, or end it altogether.
Wait wait, there’s something to that last, half-considered idea! Let’s think long and hard about that one!
— Change the dinner to make its focus the promotion of journalism and freedom of the press.
So, make it even more navel-gazing than it already is.
As long as this dinner—and the spectacle of Washington insiders, be they source or journalist, getting dressed up for a glitzy night out on the town together without the intrusion of “politics”—exists, so too will the issues with “optics.” It’s true that Americans don’t trust the media, and didn’t long before this year’s dinner, but the institutional underpinnings that have long insulated it from criticism are what Washington should be forced to answer to.