Well, consider this a surprise … or not really at all. The news of Donald Trump bailing on the White House Correspondents’ Dinner shouldn’t shock anyone given his recent treatment of the media, which included not allowing a major news network in CNN to attend a recent press gaggle.
Today, the news was first confirmed via on post on Twitter from the President himself; meanwhile the association’s President in Jeff Mason had the following to say on the matter:
“The WHCA takes note of President Donald Trump’s announcement on Twitter that he does not plan to attend the dinner, which has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic … We look forward to shining a spotlight at the dinner on some of the best political journalism of the past year and recognizing the promising students who represent the next generation of our profession.”
We did some research on this. According to NBC News, Ronald Reagan was the last President to not attend the dinner, and it was over thirty years ago in 1981 following an assassination attempt. Even he called in to offer up some lighthearted words to the people in attendance.
Here is one of the stranger aspects of this announcement — other than Trump saying “please wish everyone well,” which sounds like something you’d say on a voicemail as opposed to a tweet. While Trump’s disdain for CNN and many other major networks is well-document, this move also snubs publications that he loves such as Fox News. This event celebrates journalists of all kinds from all publications, and his comment on it suggests that he is more concerned about a TV comedian making fun of him than he is honoring anyone from the media for his work. Maybe that’s not actually the case, but we’re viewing this from an optics point of view.
Also, in not attending this becomes more of a headline almost than him turning up. Don’t you think that networks will have a field day with this?
While we don’t tend to get overly political on here, the reason we care so passionately about the acknowledgement of journalists is because of the tireless sacrifices of many of them. Sure, there are some people biased on both sides, but there are also heroes that go through hell and back to bring you truth. These people deserve to be honored, and to get the massive TV coverage generated by the event.
What do you think of Donald Trump missing the White House Correspondents Dinner, and will this help or hurt the event’s ratings? Share below!