After the notoriously thin skinned Donald Trump decided not to attend the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Alec Baldwin suggested he might reprise his SNL role for the night.
Ok- so it’s funny. It will make Donald Trump nuts. And as much as I like the idea of irritating the orange fuhrer, I think this is a phenomenally bad idea. The White House Correspondents Dinner has been a bad idea for a VERY long time.
For years it has been an incestuous event of Washington and Hollywood elites in which everyone pretended there actually was an adversarial press and that “for the night” they were all playing nice.
But now- we DO have an actual adversarial press (or parts of it) and an even more adversarial White House. If Donald Trump was attending, no journalist should have.
When the President of the United States calls the media “the enemy of the people”, you have entered totalitarian territory. In such a climate, if you break bread with the authoritarian ruler, you are agreeing to his terms. You may not be his enemy any more, but you are surely not a journalist either.
Given that Trump is not attending, it is still important for journalists not to attend. The White House wants to paint the world as liberal coastal elites against him. Why give him the visual of the smug media laughing at the smug Alec Baldwin? However much journalists want to stick it to Trump (for patriotic, professional and personal reasons), they must do so by producing solid investigative journalism.
Let Baldwin mercilessly and hysterically skewer Trump on SNL. Journalists can record it on their DVR’s and watch in the privacy of their own homes. But no one should provide Trump with the visual of the media dressed up in tuxedos and cocktail dresses sipping wine and laughing at the White House.
For the love of god, let’s not do this. In fact, let’s just stop the White House Correspondents Dinner altogether. Let this be one positive thing that emerges from the destruction of American traditions.