Jokes, magic and trying to normal life as back correspondents dinner 2022-05-01 10:27:14


Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s chief infectious disease expert, has been advised not to go to dinner because of the obvious danger. Organizers required that all guests be vaccinated, boosted and tested negative before attending, although a few wore masks alongside service staff. As a waiver of potential danger, Mr. Biden, 79 in a high-risk age group, skipped dinner and only showed up for the speaking portion of the evening.

But his presence was supposed to mark the return of life to normal after Mr. Trump’s war on the media. While Mr. Biden, like other presidents, has complained about his coverage, at times criticizing reporters who ask questions he doesn’t care, aides said he intends his decision to attend as a reaffirmation of his support for a free press.

“A free press is not the enemy of the people,” Biden said. “Far from him. At your best, you are the guardians of the truth.” He referred in particular to those who gave their lives from the battlefields of Ukraine, a reminder, he said, of the importance of journalism.

However, the president gently reprimanded the journalists, urging them to avoid sensationalism and belittling. He said, “The First Amendment affords exceptional protections to a free press, but with that, as many of you know, comes a very heavy obligation to seek the truth as best you can, not to stir up tension or entertain but to illuminate and educate.”

“There is incredible pressure on all of you to conduct heat rather than shine,” he said, adding, “American Democracy is not a reality show.”

The Correspondents’ Guild made sure to add a serious note to the evening’s celebrations honoring leading black women in the White House Press Service, Alice Dunegan and Ethel Payne, who were two of only three African-American journalists who regularly cover White House news. in the 1950s. She also paid tribute to the journalists killed in Ukraine and singled out a family Austin Ticea reporter kidnapped in Syria in 2012.

But the event has resumed its status as a major exercise for Washington too much, bracketing itself with days of luxurious, expensive, alcohol-filled parties held across town late at night, bringing together members of the political class with their cover reporters and reporters. Occasional fixtures for Hollywood, Wall Street, and other American institutions.