Sunday, May 10, 2009

Annual White House Correspondents Dinner – Press “Drools” Over Obama – Partisan Kid Gloves are On!

The Annual White House Correspondents Dinner, sponsored by the White House Correspondence Association took place last evening; available to the General Public on C-SPAN and cable news outlets such as FOX. In the past, the purpose of the dinner has been to poke fun at the sitting president, allow the sitting president to mock himself and his close associates, and overall, an opportunity for those covering the White House to “let loose a bit” and announce the incoming Association President. A comedian or comedienne generally delivers a diatribe of jokes, about the President, a roast so to speak. Politicians from both sides of the aisle are in attendance as well as a few celebrities, and certain members of the Presidents cabinet and close advisors.

The past dinners have been amusing and the Presidents gracious in their delivery, however, last evenings dinner took a sharp turn from the tradition, when Obama hosted his first of four such events.
Obama can be a funny guy, it appears that he is likable, yet, the majority of his “routine” was spent demeaning the opposing political party, which, was a departure from prior events. Additionally, comedienne Wanda Sykes, had very few references to the President, rather spent time attacking the following individuals: President George Bush (of course), Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh – the jokes were crude to say the least. For example: on Limbaugh’s statement that he would see Obama’s policies fail (specifically referring to Socialism), Sykes compared Limbaugh to the 21st hijacker, brought up his battle with drug addiction, and ended with (paraphrasing) “I hope his kidneys fail”. On the President: Sykes noted that going to bet a burger with Biden might be a mistake, and was most likely proposed by Nancy Pelosi (funny – until), a Hillary Clinton supporter (in reality Pelosi campaigned the hardest for Obama and took every opportunity to undermine the Clinton campaign.) The only “roast” delivered by Sykes to the President was should he (paraphrasing) “mess up: they would blame the half-white guy” – also, not particularly funny.

That said, the adoration of the press, (Hollywood, is a given), has reached new heights, an after dinner review by Politico correspondents, Amie Parnes and Carol E. Lee entitled “Obama's star shines brightest at WHCD” – is nauseating in its blatant worship of an elected official. The problem with a press that is so blinded by political ideology and a charismatic (to the press) leader is obvious – the occupation, which is to be a watchdog for the people, is no longer able or capable of functioning in that role. This does not, of course, apply to all journalists, and to those who are true to their profession (or calling), are still asking hard questions, although those non-partisans are few and far between. Unfortunately, the once-respected occupation, is now viewed by half of the American public, as merely partisan - and this perception has played a significant role in the loss of subscriptions and viewership for the organizations for which they work. The reason that he Internet is often credited for the demise of said organizations, is that those lost subscribers prefer to read unbiased (or possibly biased) blogs and new sites that do not openly pander to a given political ideology.

To gain perspective C-SPAN has a video archive of past events, from 1993 forward. One can note the difference in both the delivery by the given Presidents, and the attitude of the Press (Note: these videos are full length):

2006 WHCD – George W. Bush

1998 WHCD – Bill Clinton

2009 WHCD – Barack Obama


The outgoing Association President is Jennifer Loven, of the Associated Press, she will be replaced by Edwin Chen of Bloomberg News.

1 comment:

Chuck said...

It's all nauseating, this is just a different day

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