Saturday, April 28, 2012

Coverage of tonight's White House reporters' fete

I'm referring to the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, where USA Today will once more join other companies in hosting celebrities at the annual Washington schmoozefest for reporters and politicians.

President Obama and Michelle Obama are scheduled to be there. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel is the headliner.

C-SPAN's live coverage starts at 7:20 ET, according to their schedule. MSNBC's begins about 9:30, according to the association.

Domestic arts diva Martha Stewart is among USAT's celebrity guests.

I can't find any information about how much this event will cost the paper. In the past, however, tables were $1,500 to $2,000 each and I believe the paper bought around eight.

At one time, the paper's guests would have included a mix of major advertisers, politicians and senior Gannett executives.

The event is supposed to help reporters covering the White House get better access to politicians.

But last year, you'll recall, USAT's top editor was seated right next to Obama. And yet, the very next night, rivals beat the paper on reporting the Obama-ordered killing of Osama bin Laden.


  1. Kelly dress is very cute

  2. Real news organizations like The New York Times, gave up on this mutual a-- kissing pretentious fest a few years ago. It's no wonder the public thinks so poorly of the news media.

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  4. The fawning preening masses that attend this event make a complete waste of time for most reputable organizations,
    When the only game in town is seeing who can outdo each other on the Kim Khardasian celebrity meter, what's the point?

    why do you think the New York Times opted out years ago?

    Susan Page should recommend we do the same. The money could be spent on an employee lunch.

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  6. Or we could spend it on the Craig Duvow Keep our Neighborhood Safe From Furerners Fund

  7. Who went for Usat? And did we sponsor another pricey party suite?

  8. Party suite? All right! I just got done with work. Where's the party?

  9. Banikarim, Lee Jones, Micek, Colton, Micek.

  10. Screw the table costs. How many tens of thousands were spent on USAT party?

  11. Gannett distancing itself from the growing gaggle of reality “stars” and narcissistic celebrities who attend the White House CORRESPONDENTS dinner, as many here have suggested like the NY Times did, should be taken under serious advisement.

    A quick look at CSPAN’s feed last night of those entering the event easily showed why as Eric Holder and various other political leaders in this nation who were attendance slowly walked by a wealth of reporters with breathless questions and cameras unnoticed.

    Why? Because they were too busy asking the Kardashian’s, Lohan, McPhearson, et al about their attire and what they did in D.C.


    Not unlike Gannett taking its own corporate and entertainment “celebrities” instead of inviting its own leading political reporters from its various media properties.

  12. The Gannett "party" was a small room with some finger food. Hardly lavish.

    As for USA Today getting "beat" on the Bin Laden story (as if Obama would turn to Hillkirk and say, "guess what just happened?"), that's more Gannett Blog nonsense. Our news alert unfortunately went out a few minutes after others did, which of course means something in the digital age, but no other organization had an actual jump on that story that meant anything beyond momentary bragging rights.

    Jim, if you cannot find real criticism, please don't revise history. Desperate comes across as just that. Desperate.

  13. There were plenty of USA Today political reporters at the dinner. Don't believe everything you read here.

  14. @12:31 – If there were plenty of USA political reporters there, did they too fall under the spell of the celebrities in attendance at the expense of failing to interview America’s top politicians? And, at last count, Gannett owned more than 80 newspapers many of which have top-notch political reporters, so how many of them made it to the event,if any?

  15. 12:30 Oh, pish. The problem with USAT's coverage a year ago went far beyond a simple delayed news alert. I watched all the major media outlets as they updated their homepages about the bin Laden killing; the paper was late in posting an initial story, and in updates that followed.

    Still, as I observed at the time: "I have absolutely no doubt that the staff wants to beat the competition. But how is that possible under the current leadership?"

    At the WHCA dinner the night before the Obama-ordered raid, all the journalists present were made to look foolish for carousing with politicians on the eve of such a significant event.

    As the New York Times wrote this morning, a ballroom full of journalists were clueless. Hillkirk, because of his literal proximity to Obama, merely underscored this fact.

  16. More revisionism, Jim. Just how were those journalists going to know about a classified raid?

    You are reaching -- again.

  17. 2:42 I never said anything about journalists knowing in advance about a classified raid. Can you point to any post where I wrote that?

    What I did say was that the timing of the dinner and the raid made last year's journalists look foolish. And I'll add this:

    For people watching the event at home, the dinner advances the public's growing perception that the news media is too cozy with government officials.

    The New York Times boycotts the event as guest-participants. Here's what the paper's Frank Rich wrote after the 2007 dinner:

    "This fete is a crystallization of the press’s failures in the post-9/11 era: it illustrates how easily a propaganda-driven White House can enlist the Washington news media in its shows. Such is literally the case at the annual dinner, where journalists serve as a supporting cast, but it has been figuratively true year-round."

  18. So your criticism is based on timing? That's silly, and it exposes you as a pretender.

    Attending the dinner is yet another pinata to whack at. But linking that event to not knowing about the raid is an act of silliness, which is what this blog is turning into.

  19. 3:05 What you call silly is the essence of the news business: timing.

  20. Be sure to let us know how timing alone would have led to the journalists at that dinner getting the info about a classified raid.

    I'd like to hear it. Or are you saying that somehow, if they weren't at that dinner, they would have been plugged in to some tip about the raid?

  21. 3:48 Please re-read what I said: "The timing of the dinner and the raid made last year's journalists look foolish."

    The public didn't know whether journalists at the dinner could have been better prepared for the raid. They didn't know whether it would have been possible to get a heads up.

    What the public did know was that the reporters who are supposed to maintain an arm's length relationship with government were, in fact, as cozy-close as the grinning John Hillkirk, in a tuxedo, standing beside Obama.

    And that hardly follows Gannett's ethics policy, which says, in part: "An impartial, arms' length relationship will be maintained with anyone seeking to influence the news."

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  23. And how did that have an effect on not knowing about the classified raid?

    Read what I said before. Attending the dinner can be criticized. Linking it to not knowing about the raid is something else.

    Read and think before you start telling people to re-read things. Right now, you are just flinging things at the wall to see if they will stick.

  24. Jim, this line of argument is showing why you have failed at everything. I can just imagine you, hands on hips, saying, "So?" to an editor or manager.

    You need to bring either intelligence or character to this type of discussion. You are running on empty in both of those areas.

  25. 4:24 No!!!!!!

    You first need to re-read what I told you to re-read before you told me to read what you said (about a piñata?!) after I told you all of the above starting at 1:38 and continuing through 2:56, 3:22, 4:16 and, now, 4:43.

  26. 4:42 You forgot the angry stamping of my foot.

  27. Let me guess, Jim -- you would have gotten the scoop if you had been at the dinner.

    Of course, you couldn't even figure out how to operate a microphone stand. But we should believe you would have unearthed this major story. Riiiiiiiight.

  28. What would Jesus have done at the WHCD?

  29. And I can't even sign my name to recall my lying, ethically challenged governor.


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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