Tom Brokaw started a conversation Sunday when he declared that the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner had gone beyond what it needs to be in terms of being a celebrity-driven clubby fiasco. Many journalists agreed.
Fox News’s Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry, the incoming president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, shot off a series of tweets Monday defending the event, noting that it raises thousands of dollars in journalism scholarships. He did say, however, that as president, he welcomes criticism to make improvements.
Unfortunately, he might not have fully meant it. To several criticisms, Henry offered up a defense of the dinner.
“You all look like hypocrites. You’re supposed to be challenging power, not schmoozing with Lindsay Lohan and the 1%,” wrote one tweeter. Henry replied, “I try to challenge power ev day. How does a dinner erase our work in briefing room etc?”
“Just my opinion the #WHCD takes away from the dignity of the Presidency, its a serious job effecting the lives of real people,” tweeted another follower of Henry’s. To which he responded, “Respectfully disagree. President Bush poked fun at self, President Obama has graciously done same. 1 night doesn’t hurt presidency.”
Even when CBS’s respected White House radio reporter Mark Knoller suggested a vote by the WHCA to either end the dinner or refocus it on journalism rather than celebrities, Henry responded, “Appreciate your views, especially you. but y consider whether to ‘continue’ dinner — how else do we raise $ for scholarships?”
But in the Fishbowl, we’re all about helping people. And we want you to help us help Henry. Vote in our Fish Poll below on the most effective ways to improve next year’s WHCD. We’ll run the results tomorrow.