Not sure if you heard, but comedian Michelle Wolf murdered Sarah Huckabee Sanders last night. Just straight up killed her. That’s the gist of what this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner was like—at least it was if you got your rundown from reporters and pundits who think they’re one full-throated defense of a White House personality away from making the right-wing respect them.
Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski:
NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell:
The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman:
This was the cruel joke about Sanders’ “physical appearance”:
I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.
“Chunky soccer mom,” this was not. NBC News’ Michael Beschloss even posted Bob Hope’s routine at the 1944 edition of this shitty dinner, as if to ask: why couldn’t Wolf just parrot unfunny bullshit about the dang taxman?
As usual, the worst take on this worst came from America’s Most Useless Pundit, Chris Cillizza. Cillizza’s “five takeaways” from the WHCD included such enlightened insight as this:
There are LOTS of way to go after Sanders. I personally think that she is overly antagonistic to the reporters who cover the White House and misleads on the regular. But to make fun of Sanders’ makeup? (“I think she’s very resourceful, like she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye. Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies,” said Wolf.) Like, really?
And, yes, by the way, Trump is a massive bully. Making fun of a disabled reporter, stereotyping ethnic groups, attacking reporters for how they look — all of that stuff is totally and completely unacceptable. And he knows exactly what he is doing, which makes it worse.
Yes, making fun of Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ eye makeup is comparable to Trump “stereotyping ethnic groups,” aka making it open season on Latinx people and desperately trying to find a way to ban Muslims from the country. Excellent take, Chris.
This is what the people who are expected to cover power with a critical, unflinching eye did right after Wolf ended her set, per the New York Times:
Several reporters who cover the White House approached Ms. Sanders in the Hilton ballroom to express sympathy in the immediate aftermath of Ms. Wolf’s monologue. Later, at a windswept after party hosted by NBC News, Ms. Sanders appeared in good spirits as reporters swarmed her. (She even took time to chastise one journalist for asking a question at a news conference that she disliked.)
This event has always been bad and will always be bad. The only time this thing approaches anything close to even tolerable is when the roaster, instead of watering down their act to make the press and administration happy, takes the administration task for its atrocities and the press to task for being complicit in those atrocities.
Wolf, coincidentally, did that too:
You guys are obsessed with Trump. Did you used to date him? Because you pretend like you hate him, but I think you love him. I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you. He couldn’t sell steaks or vodka or water or college or ties or Eric. But he has helped you. He’s helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster, and now you’re profiting off of him. And if you’re going to profit off of Trump, you should at least give him some money, because he doesn’t have any.
So, I hope you enjoyed the once-per-decade slightly controversial installment of this perpetually embarrassing shitshow. Very much looking forward to what Jimmy Fallon has in store for us next year.
Update, 11:00 PM ET, 04/29/2018: WHCA president Margaret Talev released a truly pathetic statement about this whole thing. Margaret Sullivan is right: the only good way to reform this thing is to end it entirely.