It appears that the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner is going to be short on media and celebrity attendances.
Many news outlets, however, are planning to give the event a miss. The New York Times has not sent journalists to the dinner since 2008. The Guardian, which normally attends, will not be represented there this year. Jeff Mason, a Reuters journalist and president of the WHCA, has been obliged to confirm that the event will happen.
Over the years, the dinner has spawned a number of receptions and after-parties. Some of those are now being cancelled or losing co-hosts. Vanity Fair, for example, has pulled out of co-hosting a prestigious after-party, leaving Bloomberg to go it alone. The New Yorker has cancelled its curtain-raiser. It is reportedly unclear if MSNBC will hold its own traditional after-party, while ABC and Yahoo, which have previously co-hosted a pre-dinner reception, have not confirmed if they will do so this year.
For Trump, who likes to be in the presence of celebrities and the center of their attention, a low-watt affair will undoubtedly irk. I don’t care about the celebrities but I have long felt that this dinner represented all that was wrong about the cozy relationship between the media and the people they cover. So while I would be glad if few or journalists show up this year, it should not be because they dislike Donald Trump but because the whole concept behind the dinner is wrong. Of course, not turning up for the dinner should be just the first step. What we should have is an intensely adversarial relationship between the press and the politicians they cover.