Friday, March 30, 2007

A little too cozy?

The White House Radio and Television Correspondents' dinner was held earlier this week, and you may have seen the video that included a rapping Karl Rove.

But the notion of such a dinner strikes me as odd. All the writers and reporters who cover the White House get together to joke with the president and vice president? Before going back to supposedly being a watchdog on the executive branch 24 hours later? Isn't there something incongruous about that?

Politics isn''t the only area where this takes place. At ESPN, the ESPY awards feature sports journalists hobnobbing with the athletes that they're supposed to cover critically (at least when necessary) -- although, as the previous post pointed out, ESPN has never really practiced great "journalism" in the first place.

I think this takes away reporters' credibility with the public, something of which the press already has precious little. I suppose it's nice to show that the president can get along with some of his critics and people can put an adversarial relationship aside for one night, but I think it's inappropriate to go to what is essentially a celebration when you're responsible for asking tough questions to the man hosting it.

The other thing noteworthy is that, of all presidents, Bush seems to have the most aversion to the press. He constantly evades reporters, avoids questions he doesn't like and spins the truth. He sends out Tony Snow and various other spokesmen and women to do the same. Given Bush's open disdain for the media, why would correspondents join him at such an event? It seems to give the impression that they're okay with everything that goes on, when they should be more upset about his administration's relationship with the media.


At Saturday, March 31, 2007, Blogger MW said...

OTM, man. Ideally, I'd like to think of these dinners as a friendly, professional "break," where the press and the White House can step out of their professional relationship and take it easy for one night, but that's probably naïve; maybe just plain stupid. Remember when Stephen Colbert skewered the White House and the press at last year's dinner? It went over pretty well with anyone catching it on the web, but Colbert's audience at the dinner didn't really appreciate the criticism. Granted, it's not surprising, and I don't expect things to change. No one wants to give up a gig covering the White House, or end up like Helen Thomas, ostracized like some kind of leper by the administration.

At Saturday, March 31, 2007, Blogger LL said...

Whatever the real relevance of these dinners are it was pretty hilarious to see politicians and reporters, like Chief White House Correspondent David Gregory, let loose a little. I don't think it belittles journalists or takes away from the seriousness or credibility of their reporting. Frankly, I think people thought very little of the journalists at this event but focused on how silly Karl Rove looked as he stumbled through a rap dance that made you at least laugh a little (if not with him than definitly at him).

At Saturday, March 31, 2007, Blogger AG said...

While I think this clip is absolutely hilarious and I laughed hysterically at it, I agree that it is difficult to understand how journalists can go back to reporting after a night like this.

I absolutely love David Gregory, but after seeing this clip of he and Karl Rove dancing, I have a hard time taking him seriously and finding him a reliable news source as sad as that is.

On top of everything, NBC "played it up" huge. It was as if to say, "look what kind of relationship we have with them." Who cares?!?! I do not think I want the people I am getting my news from to be out rapping and dancing with people they are supposed to ask scrutinizing questions of.

It was really funny though... but I'm not sure I would rely on NBC's White House coverage now to be honest.

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