Ana Marie Cox: “The White House Correspondents’ Dinner Was Never Much Fun Anyway”

From a Washington Post story headlined “What Trump Got Right”:

Weakening ‘Nerd Prom’
By Ana Marie Cox

Donald Trump’s greatest gift to the United States was to reveal hard truths about who we are. His bigotry, shallowness and greed made our own harder to bear. Trump’s dark mirror effect may have manifested most forcefully in the way he warped the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, a.k.a. “Nerd Prom.”

Ostensibly, Trump’s entire grievance-driven 2016 campaign had its roots in the upbraiding that Barack Obama set upon him from the dinner’s podium in 2011, and that alone would be reason to kill off the whole tasteless affair. By the time Trump took office in 2017, large news organizations were already declining to buy tables and warning their staffers against attending a party whose stated purpose was to raise money for scholarships, but which actually drew reporters for mercenary “beat-sweetening” purposes or, even more tragically, to gain a brief contact high from the presence of genuine celebrities….

As president, Trump skipped the event for three years, holding political rallies outside the Beltway instead. Somehow, the dinner lumbered on, even as the guest list sank to the grimiest and most desperate Trump World characters….

The 2020 night was canceled, as was the 2021 event. Can the pandemic’s more literal form of noxious communicability finish it off for good? If so, we’ll have Trump to thank, ultimately. Yes, we might still have been in lockdown by April 25, 2020, last year’s original date, no matter what kind of heroic leadership we’d had at the helm. But the combination of Trump’s reflected ingloriousness and the hard rattling and reconsideration of our priorities brought on by the pandemic can keep this tacky tradition dead. Scholarships can be funded in a way that doesn’t trade in indignity. And it was never much fun, anyway.

Ana Marie Cox is the host of Crooked Media’s “With Friends Like These” podcast.


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