Donald Trump will NOT Attend White House Correspondents’ Dinner – commentary

Donald Trump will NOT Attend White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Opinion - commentary -analysisMartin Pengelly | The Guardian UK

Donald Trump on Saturday capped a week of tumultuous relations with the press by saying he will not attend this year’s White House correspondents’ dinner, which is scheduled for 29 April 2017.

“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”

The news came as relations between the Trump administration and the news media, which he has called “the enemy of the American people”, have sunk to new lows. On Friday, leading outlets including the New York Times, CNN and the Guardian were excluded from a briefing by press secretary Sean Spicer while friendlier conservative organisations were admitted.

Editors of excluded organisations expressed anger, although White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) president Jeff Mason, of Reuters, attempted to calm troubled waters. 

In a statement on Saturday, Mason said the WHCA “looks forward to having its annual dinner” and added: “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.”

Trump has recently reacted angrily to a series of reports citing anonymous sources in the White House, law enforcement and intelligence agencies about chaos in his administration, alleged contacts between campaign staff and Russian agents, and White House attempts to rebut such reports.

The difficult relationship between Trump – whose senior adviser Steve Bannon, formerly chief of the right-wing website Breitbart News, has repeatedly called the press “the opposition party” – and the media has already contributed to a number of withdrawals from the correspondents’ dinner and related events.

This week Bloomberg followed Vanity Fair and the New Yorker in saying it would not host a party tied to the dinner. The New York Times has not attended the event since 2008; the Guardian will not attend this year. This week, Buzzfeed reported that another favourite target of Trump’s, CNN, was considering pulling out as well.

Trump followed a familiar path on Friday night, when he wrote on Twitter: “FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing @nytimes has become a joke. Likewise @CNN. Sad!”

Many observers have linked Trump’s run for the presidency with events at the 2011 correspondents’ dinner, in which Barack Obama ridiculed the businessman, who was in attendance, over his championing of the so-called “birther” movement.

The dinner is a traditionally lighthearted affair, celebrities mixing with journalists at tables and comedians “roasting” the president of the day, as Stephen Colbert did to George W Bush in an infamous speech from 2006. The president traditionally speaks as well.

The first dinner was held in 1921 when Calvin Coolidge was the first president to attend, in 1924. Since then every president has attended the dinner at least once.

Ronald Reagan did not attend in 1981 – after being shot – and Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon did not always sit down for dinner. Obama attended all eight events while he was in office.

According to the History Channel the dinner has been cancelled three times: following the death of former president William Howard Taft, in 1930, after the USA entry into the second world war in 1942, and in 1951, during the Korean war.

In January, Trump skipped the Alfalfa Club dinner in Washington D.C., another key event in the social calendar of a city in which the president is happy to pose as an outsider.

Rob Mahoney, deputy executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, told the Guardian on Saturday Trump should“act as a champion of press freedom” around the world, rather than attacking the media in a way that could “send a signal to other countries that it is OK to verbally abuse journalists and undermine their credibility”.

In a statement, Guardian USA editor Lee Glendinning said the exclusion of news outlets from Friday’s briefing was “deeply troubling and divisive” and added: “Holding power to account is an essential part of the democratic process, and that’s exactly what the Guardian will continue to do.”

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Comments

  • S Beard  On February 27, 2017 at 9:24 am

    WTG President Trump! What is wrong with reporting the news, instead of reporting what your opinion of what he said. (Fake News is the enemy of the people). If the same press had treated the last administration the way they are treating this President, this country would not be so F….g divided.
    I did not vote for the last president, but I respected him as my president. The man won the election, let’s move on and gave him the same respect we all did the last one.
    Get the facts and the correct source next time.

  • guyaneseonline  On February 27, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    The Right Way to Challenge Fake News

    By Stephen Lendman
    Global Research, February 26, 2017

    Trump is right challenging fake news. It’s about time someone in high office did it. He’s going about it the wrong way.

    Without speech, media and academic freedoms, all other rights are threatened.

    Barring certain media outlets from attending Friday’s White House press briefing while letting others in was wrongheaded and counterproductive.

    The NYT falsely called the move unprecedented, “something no administration of either party has ever done.”

    Not quite. In 2009, the Obama White House said it would no longer conduct interviews with Fox News as a member of the press pool, an unprecedented act at the time.

    Other media outlets objected. The White House relented. It remained hostile to Fox News criticism of its policies.

    On February 24, NYT editors blasted Trump’s move, absurdly calling it “a backhanded compliment to the reporters whose honest work provoked the president’s latest foot-stamping tantrum” – a gratuitous insult, falsely referring to barred news organizations as “trustworthy.”

    Far from it! The Times and other media scoundrels feature fake news, suppressing what’s most important to report.

    They’re largely anti-Trump, inventing reasons to bash him. Justifiable criticism is warranted. Biased reporting defiles what journalism is supposed to be.

    On Friday, Trump called media “the opposition party…mak(ing) up stories and mak(ing) up sources.”

    Candidate Trump said he wasn’t “running against crooked Hillary. I’m running against the crooked media,” he stressed – referring to the media as the “lowest form of humanity.”

    Throughout the campaign, they went all out to get him, continuing post-inauguration. The power of scoundrel media manipulated public sentiment works.

    Fiction substitutes for important facts. News is sanitized, dissent marginalized. Supporting wealth, power and privilege substitutes for full and accurate reporting.

    Wars of aggression are called liberating ones. They’re glorified in the name of peace. Civil liberties are suppressed for our own good. Patriotism means supporting what harms the public welfare.

    Might is justified as right. Raping nations is called democracy building. Looting them is considered economic development. Free societies are threatened. Tyranny stalks America.

    Truth-telling is a vital disinfectant. The way to challenge media scoundrels isn’t by barring them from press briefings. It’s by exposing their fake news with hard, irrefutable facts.

    Trump has bully pulpit power. He has over 25 million Twitter followers plus other ways to counter media lies if done responsibly.

    On Friday, he tweeted “FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing @nytimes has become a joke. Likewise @CNN. Sad!”

    Most Americans distrust the media for good reason. Growing numbers rely on alternative sources to stay informed. It’s the only way!

    Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

    His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

    http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

  • Clyde Duncan  On March 1, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Donald Trump Relationship with the Media: Toxic and Co-Dependent

    “Dave, that’s a great description of The Donald’s current ‘relationship’ with the mainstream media!” writes one of our regulars after we characterized it as “toxic” and “codependent.”

    The same thing also seems to be true of his interaction with Congress.

    An interesting theory about why he’s doing this has emerged from the noise.

    President Trump has correctly identified that the public’s approval ratings of both entities has never been lower.

    By taking them on at every opportunity, in effect, he’s aligning himself with us.

    “So there may be more to it than bluster and snark on Trump’s part.
    He could be using a ‘common foe’ strategy. Pretty savvy, no?”

    Christopher Cole of Artemis Capital Management seems to agree. In a December 2016 letter to shareholders titled Volatility in the Age of Trump, he makes a compelling point:

    “Stop underestimating this man — you don’t become leader of the free world through stupidity and luck.

    The rants and Twitter storms are part of a strategy of media control and distraction.’”

    The 5: There’s undoubtedly a grain of truth to that. In the event the stock market starts to go south because Trump’s economic agenda is stalled in Congress, he can and will lay the blame on Congress and get away with it.

    As we pointed out last year, only 6% of Americans tell pollsters they have “a great deal of confidence” in the media — about the same as Congress.

    For whatever it’s worth, these kinds of surveys usually tell us the institution that retains the highest confidence of the American people is… the military.

    We’re certain Trump knows that too…

    Best regards,
    Dave Gonigam
    The 5 Minute Forecast

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