In the eyes of D.C. media elites, jokes about murderous drone strikes and a war that killed over a million Iraqis fall well within the boundaries of civility, but humor that targets the powerful is completely unacceptable.
That was the message many journalists and critics took from the White House Correspondents’ Association’s (WHCA) “pathetic” statement Sunday night apologizing for the performance of comedian Michelle Wolf, who pilloried the incompetence of Democrats, railed against the lies of the Trump administration, and spoke uncomfortable truths about the corporate media’s complicity in the president’s ascent to power.
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“Pathetic to see WHCA cave in and attack the comedian they hired to roast an administration led by a guy who bragged about sexual assault, talked about shooting Muslims with bullets dipped in pig blood, and attacked the free press on a daily basis.”
According to WHCA—which positions itself as a defender of free speech—Wolf’s 20-minute routine amounted to an intolerable breach of civil discourse, which apparently prohibits criticism that might offend those in positions of immense power and influence, like White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“Last night’s program was meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility, great reporting, and scholarship winners, not to divide people,” the WHCA said in a statement posted to Twitter Sunday night, following a full day of constant outrage and hand-wringing about Wolf’s performance from prominent access journalists. “Unfortunately, the entertainer’s monologue was not in the spirit of that mission.”
WHCA’s statement was immediately decried as an “embarrassment” that demonstrates the organization is more interested in facilitating “chumminess” between the White House and the media than a “vigorous and free press.”
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