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“Red Carpet For Ugly People”: White House Correspondents Dinner Has Nothing To Do With Journalism

Reading Peggy Noonan got me into a bad mood, and it was just terrible luck that the next cookie on the plate was this earnest Politico piece by Patrick Gavin on the anniversary of the “controversy” over the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. It seems Tom Brokaw has again broken the silence by expressing the quiet angst of the Beltway press corps at the pollution of this hallowed event by Hollywood celebrities:

Tom Brokaw blames it all on Lindsay Lohan.

Last year, Brokaw became one of the biggest critics of the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner after he saw Washington buzzing around and about the troubled Hollywood actress, who was a guest of Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren.

“The breaking point for me was Lindsay Lohan,” Brokaw told POLITICO during a recent interview in his office in the NBC News Rockefeller Plaza headquarters in New York. “She became a big star at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Give me a break.”

Reading the whole article, it’s unclear to me whether Brokaw is primarily concerned about gate-crashing by Hollywood types, or understands that the whole idiotic phenomenon of journalists dressing up like celebrities to schmooze with the rich and powerful people they are supposed to be writing critically about is itself a tad bit sick-making:

“They [the Great Unwashed] were making their own decisions in their own states, in their own communities, and the congressional ratings were plummeting,” he added. “The press corps wasn’t doing very well, either. And I thought, ‘This is one of the issues that we have to address. What kind of image do we present to the rest of the country? Are we doing their business, or are we just a group of narcissists who are mostly interested in elevating our own profiles?’ And what comes through the screen on C-SPAN that night is the latter, and not the former.”

That is exactly right, but it has nothing to do with the admixture of entertainment industry figures in the proceedings. All the borrowed Hollywood glitter does is to make it clearer than ever that if politics is “show business for ugly people,” as the old saying goes, then the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is their red carpet event. Let the stars of E! take over the whole damn thing, and stop pretending it has anything to do with journalism.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, April 26, 2013

April 28, 2013 Posted by | Journalism, Media | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Congress And Cockroaches: A Rapidly Descending Congress Hasn’t Quite Hit Bottom Just Yet, But They’re Working On It

Think the “fiscal cliff” shenanigans and the upcoming debt limit fiasco have damaged the already battered reputation of Congress? If so, looks like you are right. PPP has a new survey out showing Congress’ favorability rating is down to single digits: a booming 9%, with 85% registering negative impressions.

Being playful folk (particularly for pollsters), the PPP staff decided to offer respondents a choice of preferances between Congress and various and sundry other highly unsavory people and things—and the lawmakers didn’t do very well:

It’s gross to have lice but at least they can be removed in a way that given the recent reelection rates members of Congress evidently can’t: Lice 67 Congress 19

Brussel sprouts may have been disgusting as a kid, but evidently they’re now a lot less disgusting than Congress: Brussel Sprouts 69 Congress 23

The NFL replacement refs may have screwed everything up, but voters think Congress is screwing everything up even worse: Replacement Refs 56 Congressmen 29 (the breakdown among Packers fans might be a little bit different).

Colonoscopies are not a terribly pleasant experience but at least they have some redeeming value that most voters aren’t seeing in Congress: Colonoscopies 58 Congress 31

And you can make the same point about root canals: Root Canals 56 Congress 32

It goes on and on, with used car salesmen, traffic jams, France, carnies, Nickelback, Genghis Khan, DC pundits, Donald Trump, and yes, cockroaches all beating Congress in public approbation. But there’s a slim silver lining:

The news isn’t all bad for Congress:

By relatively close margins it beats out Lindsey Lohan (45/41), playground bullies (43/38), and telemarketers (45/35). And it posts wider margins over the Kardashians (49/36), John Edwards (45/29), lobbyists (48/30), Fidel Castro (54/32), Gonorrhea (53/28), Ebola (53/25), Communism (57/23), North Korea (61/26), and meth labs (60/21).

So Congress hasn’t quite hit bottom just yet.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, January 8, 2013

January 9, 2013 Posted by | Congress | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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