Column: Here Comes Another Corrosive Correspondents Dinner

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Washington journalists are rejoicing that celebrity glitz and glamour are returning to their self-celebrating soiree, the so-called “White House Correspondents Dinner.” They announced longtime Saturday Night Live player Kenan Thompson will host the April event, and Muslim comedian Hasan Minhaj will perform the Republican-bashing “comedy” routine.

ABC reporter Jonathan Karl, the president of the White House Correspondents Association, told The New York Times “The dinner has a serious message, but we also believe it is as important as ever to be able to laugh — at ourselves, as well as at the people we cover. I’d argue that humor is more important now than ever.”

Liberals cling desperately to humor, “now more than ever.” Just as The New York Times advertises by saying “The truth is more important now than ever.”

The biggest joke of this dinner is Karl claiming “this is a nonpartisan event.” Just look at the last three presidents. Leftists like Stephen Colbert famously roasted George W. Bush. But when Obama became president, a series of comedians oozed their appreciations of the Almighty Barack, spelunking to the all-time low of Larry Wilmore proclaiming in 2016 “Yo, Barry. You did it, my n*gga!”

The “nonpartisan” network newscasts on ABC, CBS, and NBC covered that event with 35 soundbites celebrating Obama’s comedy routine, touted as “the funniest president of all time,” to only two soundbites from Wilmore. One clip was a supine tribute to Obama, not even a joke. 

Hasan Minhaj was hired for this gig in 2017, so we know Karl must be joking that this man is going to attempt to be “nonpartisan.” Back then, WHCA president Jeff Mason of Reuters claimed it would be “unfair” to roast President Trump in absentia. But it was inevitable. 

Minhaj dribbled out lame jokes about absent Trump aides not in attendance, like “Nazi Steve Bannon” and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who was “curating her collection of children's tears.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions was busy with a “pre-Civil-War re-enactment.” Minhaj joked Sessions said “No” to attending, which is “his second favorite N-word.”

Minhaj compared Trump to amoral, sadistic, inbred King Joffrey of Game of Thrones and joked “The leader of our country is not here...and that’s because he lives in Moscow...As for the other guy, I think he’s in Pennsylvania, because he can’t take a joke.”

Then Minhaj mocked the media for any criticism of Trump going golfing, since any distraction prevented war with North Korea. He suggested the headline “Trump Golfing...Apocalypse Delayed...Take the W.”

Minhaj goaded the press to stay tough: “This is the Golden Age of Lying....and Donald Trump is Liar-in-Chief! And remember, you guys are Public Enemy Number One. You are his biggest enemy. Journalists, ISIS, normal-length ties. And somehow, you're the bad guys. That's why you gotta keep your foot on the gas.”

Jon Karl heard all this, and clearly wants another heaping helping of this kind of “comedy.”

Last time around, Minhaj worried out loud that in the Trump era, “trust is more important than truth,” and many people don’t trust the press, which he equates with “truth,” just like The New York Times does.

These highly educated, well-read policy nerds somehow can’t imagine that a comedy routine like this, mixed in with candid shots of Wolf Blitzer or Brian Stelter guffawing along, isn’t helping the idea that the press is nonpartisan, that it doesn’t see itself as valiantly taking a side. They’re urged to “keep your foot on the gas,” and excuse most of us for not daring to hitchhike. 

Column Hasan Minhaj
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