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White House Correspondents’ Dinner Worse Than Oscars

White House Correspondents’ Dinner Worse Than Oscars

I forced myself to take in every minute of the coverage of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.  Good God, was it awful!!  It had its anticipated lean to the left, but not as bad as some in the past.

CNN offered gavel-to-gavel coverage.  That means while the guests were getting seated and eating their dinners, there was no effort to put anything on camera at the Dinner.  Instead, we were entertained (?) with an hour or so of anchor folks and panelists talking about the dinner – past and present, but mostly past.

You had CNN’s numbers cruncher Harry Enten giving the red-carpet treatment to … CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.  Their banter included a who’s-on-first style routine over who is in the situation room – Blitzer’s roost at CNN.  Enten kiddingly said the show was his situation room.  They decided that everything was a situation room.  (I am still not laughing.)

After listening to banal banter for the better part of an hour, the cameras finally shifted to the Dinner – which was even more boring and less enjoyable than the media in constant praise of its own industry.

Tamara Keith, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, gave the same speech I have heard over the years – gushy over-the-top praise for the industry and all the practitioners in the room. Association dinners and award programs always engage in self-praise, but not to this level.  The audience was fed mush to the point of regurgitation.

Then came the awards, with the same boilerplate speeches from the past.  The names and faces of the recipients were different, but the flattering introductions were not.

(Back in my Chicago days, I ran a lot of award dinners.  I had a rule.  Give the awards quickly and limit the thank you speeches to ten words.  That is because I understood an underlying truth.  The only folks interested in the awards are those giving them and those getting them.  The audience is eager to move on.  But I digress.)

Finally, it was President Biden’s time to perform.    Yes, he tried a few self-deprecating jokes that drew a minimum level of polite chuckles.  He had a few jibes at President Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.  But mostly, he used his time and teleprompter to give his boilerplate campaign speech.

Ironically, he spent a lot of time addressing American citizens held by hostile regimes in places like Russia, China, Iran, and Syria — especially journalists.  Biden repeatedly emphasized that his administration will never forget them and how he works on their behalf daily.  If this were a Pinocchio movie, we would have seen the nose elongating.  Come on, man.  No one is going to believe that malarkey – especially the families of those held hostages.

Just to placate the whataboutism folks, Trump is no humorist either.  Neither Biden nor Trump has the wit of Presidents Lincoln, Reagan, Obama, or Bush (the second).

This year’s comic relief was presented by Roy Wood, Jr.   He got a few laughs … a few polite laughs … a few moans.  He went very soft on Biden.  He did not roast the President.  His most pointed jokes were directed at Tucker Carlson, FOX News, and President Trump.

Wood did have a theme for part of his stand-up routine.  He brought up scandals as the underlying subject.  He led off with Trump, but he did take a couple of jibs at CNN’s Don Lemon.  He brought up GOP Congressman George Santos.

What screamed across the screen, however, is what Wood did NOT jest about.  The Hunter Biden scandals.  It was such an obvious omission that Wood lost all credibility as a fair and bipartisan jokester.  No scandal provided potentially more material for roast-style humor. 

If he was not going to make jokes about Hunter, Wood should never have made scandals one of his main themes.  I suspect that his obvious omission brought the Hunter issues to the minds of everyone in the audience – in the room and in telly land.

The post-event wrap-up commentary was more objective than I expected.  Oh yeah. There was the Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell’s panty-dampening praise of President Biden’s mediocre performance.  Ironically, it was former Biden/Harris 2020 staffer Ashley Allison who thought Wood’s set the right tone with his jibes at both rightwing and leftwing hypocrisy. 

CNN’s Scott Jennings had the most negative assessment of the Biden speech – arguing that the President was mocking the press when he talked about how he always takes questions.  Scott emphatically stated that Biden’s claim was more malarkey.  “He does not take questions from the press.” 

The best part of the evening was the high points from previous dinners.  Overall, I would say that the White House Correspondents’ Dinner lived up to its reputation – and that is not necessarily a compliment.  

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

8 Comments

  1. Frank stetson

    I liked it. I thought Joe was cute. I thought the comedian was team of anything, and they always lean to the left, and you know why. You have to consider the audience.

    Plus, I always like to look at the fox table, they always look so constipated. I don’t know why, there were two douche bags sitting at the table. Sorry, I meant Dooseys.

    My father tells a funny story about being in the lobby of the press building as suddenly the doors opened, scads of secret service, FBI or something like that, can’t came through, cleared the place, except for my father, as the Japanese ambassador came through. Apparently, my father looked like G Gordon Liddy, so they let him stay. That never got old either.

    • Tom

      Holy crap Frank! Your second paragraph is a real knee slapper!! You have injected much humor into your past blog responses. Seems like Biden would have been smart to hire you to write his monolog!!

      • larry Horist

        Tom … You are exposing a taste for low class humor(?) — suggesting that calling people douche bags is real wit … a knee slapper. You must be agonizing over the ending of the Jerry Springer Show.

  2. Tom

    I did not watch it nor do I watch CNN. I must thank you for writing this topic. This topic has helped me figure out that there is something that I care much less about than AI. That would be White House correspondent dinners. :>)

  3. Frank stetson

    Quite a few outlets carry it; usually the President and the lead comedian are worth it; Larry is just a glutton for punishment.

    The Obama Trump smack down was a major reason he ran IMO and contributed greatly to his rampage against anything Obama. Obamacare replacement failure must have killed him.

    It’s priceless to watch, even better to see Trump skulk out. Makes his court appearance look jovial in comparison. I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me…

    • Tom

      Well I am glad you enjoyed it Frank! Yes I like Larry and his blog but you are right, if Larry feels the way he feels (and I believe he has every right to his feelings and they are valid in and of themselves and do not need our approval) why would he bother watching it. Maybe it was because he was looking for material to write about, you know, research reasons maybe?

      As a former teacher that always had kids showing up to school sick and spreading it, and seeing people lose their homes over medical bills, and being an elder care manager for several years, I was very glad to see the GOP ACA Repeal and Replace smack down. I preferred to see the ACA made more efficient and cost effective.

      I was busy watching reruns of Hogan’s Heroes during the correspondents dinner. LOL

  4. Mike f

    Again, more proof that Larry is paid by the word to write his blog. Does anyone really care what Larry thinks about the WHCD? No. Does anyone really care about the WHCD itself? No, only to the extent that we are able to have such a dinner in the US and roast public officials. Which brings me to my third disagreement with Larry in this article-should Hunter Biden have been the subject of the roast? Hunter Biden is not a public official, does not serve or advise his father, nor is he out on the road stumping for his father, unlike the trump children who fit most of these descriptions. They were not typically part of the roast however, nor should the President’s son Hunter been roasted. The only thing that really was worthwhile to report about this WHCD is the fact that Biden was actually in attendance, unlike the thin-skinned POS who previously occupied the Oval Office….

  5. JPop

    Correspondant Dinners…Oscars…The Emmies…TheTony Awards…..all have become nothing but Elite Class…back slapping Circle Jerks.