White House Correspondents Dinner 2014

President Obama is about to speak.

Watching on TV, it seemed like a very lackluster affair tonight. Very little glamour and everyone looked tired, with the exception of Arianna Huffington, who looked terrific and was very animated.

Maybe it's because we're getting towards the end of Obama's "reign." During the dinner, he kept shaking his head "no" when the server wanted to give him food. He rubbed his eyes. He perked up and started smiling just before he was about to speak, when a flock of males all came up to greet him like groupies. Interesting that no females were fawning over him.

Is anyone else watching? I doubt I'll make it through Joel McHale. (Update: I watched him, comments below):[More...]

McHale: I had no idea who he is, having never heard of him before. He had too many racial and fat jokes for my taste -- the one about Kim Kardashian seemed especially crass. I might have walked out at that one, had I been there. His insults about CNN also seemed over-the-top. His Chris Christie bit was probably the highlight of his act, considering Christie was in the audience.

Obama was okay, not great. I thought his best line was when he said, "Youíll miss me when Iím gone. It will be harder to convince the American people Hillary was born in Kenya." His next best was when he mentioned someone throwing a shoe at Hillary and then showed a picture of Joe Biden holding a shoe.

I've only watched these dinners for the last three years, and I have to say, this was the dullest one.

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    Yawn (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Dadler on Sun May 04, 2014 at 09:52:04 AM EST
    Let's remember, even Stephen Colbert, who gave that amazing truth-to-power satirical address at this same dinner several years ago, even he didn't seem to understand what he was actually doing. I know this because he has said he tried to call Dubya afterwards and say, hey, no hard feelings. WTF??? When I heard this, I remember thinking, "Not only is satire completely dead in this country, it doesn't even know it's real satire when it actually, if rarely, occurs." Such a perfect absurdity for an America incomparable in the world for its ridiculous ironies.

    Good satire (none / 0) (#14)
    by Mikado Cat on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:02:43 AM EST
    has to dig pretty close to the bone, like a poke in the ribs, too soft and its annoying with no laugh. Bush was an open target, what could be said about Obama? Much of what has happened is too sad to make a joke about, or inherently not funny like health insurance.

    Funniest line of the night.

    "On a more serious note, tonight reminds us that we really are lucky to live in a country where reporters get to give a head of state a hard time on a daily basis".


    Oh Whatever (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:53:37 AM EST
    Or line up outside his (none / 0) (#38)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon May 05, 2014 at 04:49:32 PM EST
    vacation home  because he didn't do what they wanted.

    Hey, Tracy (none / 0) (#64)
    by Dadler on Tue May 06, 2014 at 01:19:28 PM EST
    Hope you and your family are well, mi amiga. Peas & Loave  ;-)

    Define "hard time" as you are using it (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Dadler on Tue May 06, 2014 at 01:21:04 PM EST
    Cuz I doubt our definitions would square.



    And from what I read, Joel McHale and (none / 0) (#26)
    by Anne on Mon May 05, 2014 at 02:37:22 PM EST
    Chris Christie "kissed and made up" after the onslaught of "jokes" McHale made at Christie's expense.

    And so it continues.


    "Getting toward the (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by KeysDan on Sun May 04, 2014 at 11:42:00 AM EST
    end of Obama's "reign","   seems to be a weekend theme.  It is as if the NYT editorial board met to discuss this very subject and put out its word to its op-ed columnists.  In its lengthy editorial, the Obama foreign policy is analyzed with the underpinning of "circumstances beyond his control and unreasonable expectations," but the crux of the critique appears to take truck with Obama's "maddeningly bland demeanor."  

     The editorial does summarize that "taken as a whole and stripped as much as possible of ideological blinkers, Mr. Obama's record on foreign policy is not as bad as his critics say (I guess this includes their editorial board and its columnists.)  It is just not good enough."  

    It is difficult to ascertain just what the criticism actually is--Ted Cruz is dismissed as knowing little about foreign affairs, and John McCain is acknowledged as knowing much about foreign affairs, but has a military solution for each and every problem.

    As for the columnists enlisted to the echo chamber, Frank Bruni's treatise on America the incredible shrinking country,  hits its high point at  vapidity and thereafter becomes more downhill than the Obama administration he sees.

    Maureen Dowd, picks up on the trend in her predictable way--attacking Obama through the Clintons whom she attacks, too, or, occasionally,  with praise that is faint.

     As a rarity, Tom Friedman brings something to the conversation, perhaps this week is his turn for sanity.   Friedman, at least, points out that some issues  are a product of actions taken by previous administrations, such as Daddy Bush and Bill Clinton's expansion of NATO that helped to propel Putinism, and W's. to weaken our foreign role with wars and our domestic roll by not paying for them (in fact giving tax cuts.)

    Of course, Obama has been at the helm since 2009, and has made some miscalculations that did not entirely hinge on the past--the initial Libya intervention, come to my mind and the initial plan to bomb Syria.   But the "cautiousness" that Obama is faulted for is a strength not a weakness.  In dealing, for example, with a country with nuclear weapons, thinking it through is hardly a vice.

     In seems that the media will never get the administrative style of President Obama, so at least, they should analyze this foreign policy on the basis of outcomes. On the positive side, the NYT columnist, Ross Douthat chose another topic and sparred us his thoughts.

    Obama's (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun May 04, 2014 at 04:10:06 PM EST
    bland personality? Outside of the area rock stuff this is who he always has been.

    And I seem to remember when bland was supposed to be good. Bill Clinton brought too much drama. So what is it? Blandness or drama? I guess if there was a lot of drama going on they would be complaining about that too.


    Not sure it all that bland really (none / 0) (#12)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun May 04, 2014 at 04:27:25 PM EST
    His comedic timing is really pretty good.  He seems to me like he might be a pretty funny guy.

    Once upon a time (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Sun May 04, 2014 at 02:19:26 PM EST
    I thought John McCain couldn't completely foul and flub America's foreign policy if it was placed in his hands.  I was wrong.

    please stay on topic of Obama (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Sun May 04, 2014 at 03:36:38 PM EST

    I find it interesting that there's been (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Anne on Mon May 05, 2014 at 08:59:04 AM EST
    more buzz about will.i.am participating in the MTP round table than in anything said at the WH Correspondents' Dinner.

    It wouldn't be possible, would it, that there just isn't much interest in poking "fun" at the state of government and the presidency these days?  After you scratch all the "aren't drone killings funny" bits, and after you cross off the jokes about Big Brother listening to and watching everyone, what's left seems like it would fall pretty flat.  Maybe there are a few smug chuckles and chortles in the area of income inequality - but there's nothing special about that, is there?  John Boehner's tan and Joe Biden's teeth are really old news.  How about jokes about what the women look like?  Did they do a riff on the George-Bush-looking-for-WMD's with one on Obama looking for his balls?  Anyone offer to check Michelle's purse for them?  How about Hillary's cankles - did they come up to uproarious laughter?  Maybe not - that's kind of been done to death.  

    I didn't see it, haven't really read much about it; guess I just don't have much interest in watching a roomful of people who are already playing more footsie on a day-to-day basis than I think is good for the state of government and accountability, doing more of it out in the open wearing Armani and Valentino and the really sparkly jewelry, and gloating over having better celebrity friends than their colleagues, and calling it all "fun."

    I'm sure the cocktail weenies were spectacular, though.


    Margaret Carlson (none / 0) (#18)
    by jbindc on Mon May 05, 2014 at 09:01:20 AM EST
    Talks about this (but yes, she admits, she still loves to go)

    And apparently, the MC, Joel McHale, bombed big time.


    I just (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by lentinel on Mon May 05, 2014 at 01:15:31 PM EST
    love seeing wealthy politicians getting chummy with rich media personalities.

    It really gives me confidence in the integrity and independence of the press.

    It's kind of a relief that they don't let no vagabond peons in this lovely affair.

    And the jokes - had me rolling in the aisles.

    I like a conmmander-in-chief who can tell a good joke.

    W. used a pretty good joke teller. That's what made me want to have a beer with him. 'Til that pinko Colbert went and ruined the whole thing.

    One half cup of self-deprecation - add one cup of press skewering. Stir. Not too much. Not too little.
    Just right.

    Even calling it "nerd prom" (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by ruffian on Mon May 05, 2014 at 01:36:45 PM EST
    is giving it too much credit. These people think of themselves as nerds? Please.

    They think of themselves (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Zorba on Mon May 05, 2014 at 02:21:07 PM EST
    as the cognoscenti of politics and news.

    Benefit (none / 0) (#23)
    by squeaky on Mon May 05, 2014 at 02:19:50 PM EST
    The Dinner is a scholarship benefit for gifted students in collegial journalism programs.

    You must have hated JFK, who patented the staged WH press conference..  master of teevee.

    What a manipulator and his lapdog press..  

    Free press...  

    you are nostalgic for a time that never was



    Whatever it started out to be, and no one (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by Anne on Mon May 05, 2014 at 02:34:38 PM EST
    is objecting to the awarding of scholarships, it's strayed far from that place.

    As Margaret Carlson wrote, in the link provided by jb, below,

    To maintain a veneer of a sense of mission, the association awards scholarships, the winners of which are brought on stage for a hug from the first lady. At that point in the evening, we journalists act as if we are curing world hunger when the amount given wouldn't cover valet parking for the evening.

    The association could actually make this about the students, in the face of what has become a weekend of excess and excessive consumption, complete with the Vanity Fair after-party, instead of treating the so-called "mission" as little more than an afterthought, or an excuse for a tax write-off.

    You think this is about scholarships?  

    Now, there's something you could "hahahaha" about.


    OTOH, (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Zorba on Mon May 05, 2014 at 03:33:31 PM EST
    While any scholarship money is welcome, the awards range from scholarships of $2,500 to $5,000, with some one-time awards up to $7,000.
    Nice money, but compared to tuition, room and board, etc, in many schools, it does amount to a drop in the bucket.
    In our own state of Maryland, with tuition, room and board, and associated costs, it works out to $23,581.  And that's for in-state.  For out-of-state, it's $42,767.  Link.  
    My old state's university, University of Missouri, which is usually counted among the top ten (and in some reckonings, top five or even number 1) in journalism, costs $22,788, resident per year, $36,180 non-resident.
    Yes, $5,000 to $7,000 definitely helps.  But it's not exactly on a par with, say, many athletic scholarships in Division I schools.
    Maybe they could invite fewer "luminaries," down-size the whole affair, which has expanded into several days, and give more money to the aspiring journalism students.

    If they (5.00 / 3) (#37)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon May 05, 2014 at 04:40:39 PM EST
    are going to engage is this silliness then they should at least give out scholarships that are on par with current tuition rates. I wonder if they have increased teh $ amount to be more representative of where tuition is currently.

    Yes More $$ Would be Great (none / 0) (#31)
    by squeaky on Mon May 05, 2014 at 03:44:48 PM EST
    But, as far as I know, the scholarship aspect has been in the shadows compared to the gala spectacle.

    IOW, to suggest that the WHC Dinner is playing up the scholarship to win hearts and minds is a non starter. That simply is not the case.


    Well then, perhaps (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by Zorba on Mon May 05, 2014 at 04:18:12 PM EST
    the White House Correspondents' Association should stop talking about the scholarships on its own website.
    The association also holds an ANNUAL DINNER to raise money for WHCA℠ SCHOLARSHIPS and honor the professional recipients of the WHCA's JOURNALISM AWARDS. The 2014 WHCA℠ dinner was held on May 3, 2014. Proceeds from the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner go toward scholarships and awards that recognize aspiring and accomplished journalists. Auctions and raffles of WHCA℠ dinner tickets designed to raise money for other organizations or for commercial purposes are against the policy of the WHCA℠.


    Why Should They? (none / 0) (#39)
    by squeaky on Mon May 05, 2014 at 04:52:37 PM EST
    I am sure that the students that receive the scholarships are not complaining.

    Besides, the fact that it is a scholarship has little or no effect on the popularity of the event. No juice there, that is for sure... except for the students getting the scholarships.


    I don't really have a problem with the idea (none / 0) (#40)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 05, 2014 at 05:28:23 PM EST
    I like the idea of a night where comedy can be used to tell truth to power.  Colberts performance comes to mind. Even when things happen that I hate, Bush looking for the WMDs which was horrible, it gives you a little widow into what these people may actually think.  IMO the fact that Bush would do that tells you pretty much everything you need to know about him.   In his case it was "enough rope".
    The part I don't get, or rather the part get but hate, is the celebrity nonsense.  Why are they there? What is the point except to allow all these people who are supposed to journalists to make believe they are celebrities.  But lets face it, they are not making believe are they.  That is what "news" has become.  News is not news any more it's entertainment. News organizations will spend a quarter million on the "nerd prom" while they slash budgets for actual news coverage. Because that's "not what people want".  They want to see the royalty scarfing down the canapés with celebs
    I don't take it all that seriously.  Real information is available for people who want it in ways in never was before. The "news" has become just another reality show.  As someone once said about government 'people get the news they deserve'.

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by sj on Mon May 05, 2014 at 05:41:38 PM EST
    The local nightly news is nothing more than a "news magazine" ... forget morning shows. I hate that the only morning show that shows me anything of value is on the local Fox affiliate -- it has regular traffic updates.

    Everything else? I'd rather watch DogTV.


    Nostalgia? (none / 0) (#42)
    by squeaky on Mon May 05, 2014 at 05:44:27 PM EST
    Not sure about when you thought that the news was more than entertainment..  

    As long as corporate sponsors are paying, we are not going to get the story..  It is enough that humans have a POV that is never without bias and will report based on that bias, but with the long history of corporate sponsorship. we get all the POV's as the same and filtered through business needs.

    Not sure when it was different.. Granted I only go back to the sixties, but I do not think that the teevee news, or newspapers were any less beholden to their paymasters, than they are now.

    That is not to say that bold reporting happens, but that is by far the outlier, for as long as I can remember.


    Not nostalgia (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:05:28 PM EST
    I remember when news was not entertainment.   There have been great broadcast journalists.   Murrow died in the 60s I think.  But he delivered a lot of the world to people with that cigarette in his hand.  Morrow, Chronkite, heck even Huntley and Brinkley.  I would also say the early days of the PBS news hour.  Not so much any more but still more serious than anyone else in broadcast.  These people took their jobs very seriously.   But they had a simpler world in some ways.  Three networks. No cable no internet no 24 hour news cycle.
    Broadcast news has not always been the pathetic circus it currently is.  

    Speaking of "news" networks (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by jbindc on Tue May 06, 2014 at 07:17:19 AM EST
    Here's how MSNBC decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

    Keep up that facade that you are better and smarter than anyone else on TV, MSNBC!


    You beat me (none / 0) (#45)
    by Zorba on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:14:31 PM EST
    in commenting about Murrow, Cronkite, et al, Howdy.   ;-)

    Nostalgia (none / 0) (#51)
    by squeaky on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:57:36 PM EST
    Most of the networks were crap and still are because reporters are beholden to their paymasters.

    Individuals do great things that buck the system. Murrow was one but he was not like everyone else, IOW a normal indicator of the quality of broadcast news.

    When he wanted to air a show taking down McCarthy, he had to pay for it himself and was not allowed to use the CBS logo.

    It is nostalgic to imagine that times were any different. Great individuals who are willing to buck the system will always exist. Glen Greenwald is one of those people today.


    Cronkite '68 (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 05, 2014 at 08:25:14 PM EST
    We have been too often disappointed by the optimism of the American leaders, both in Vietnam and Washington, to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds. They may be right, that Hanoi's winter-spring offensive has been forced by the Communist realization that they could not win the longer war of attrition, and that the Communists hope that any success in the offensive will improve their position for eventual negotiations. It would improve their position, and it would also require our realization, that we should have had all along, that any negotiations must be that - negotiations, not the dictation of peace terms. For it seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate. This summer's almost certain standoff will either end in real give-and-take negotiations or terrible escalation; and for every means we have to escalate, the enemy can match us, and that applies to invasion of the North, the use of nuclear weapons, or the mere commitment of one hundred, or two hundred, or three hundred thousand more American troops to the battle. And with each escalation, the world comes closer to the brink of cosmic disaster.

    To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy's intentions, in case this is indeed his last big gasp before negotiations. But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.
    Following Cronkite's editorial report, President Lyndon Johnson is claimed by some to have said, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America."

    You may not remember quality broadcast journalism but it existed.  After Murrow.


    Yeah, (none / 0) (#53)
    by squeaky on Mon May 05, 2014 at 08:51:18 PM EST
    Well the Individuals who matter are not in broadcast.

    There is a tendency for us to think that times were better yesterday, and that the youth is ruined today.

    Also there is a funny notion that we also have which is contradictory, and that is progress.

    My thinking is that we are pretty much the same as yesterday and will be pretty much the same tomorrow.

    There are great individuals today that match those of yesterday and there will be no shortage of them in the future.

    News left out lots of stuff in the 60 and followed government propaganda instructions as well as their paymasters. Yes there were exceptions, as they are today.


    Amusing that somehow turned into (5.00 / 3) (#54)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 05, 2014 at 09:10:30 PM EST
    "Get off my lawn"

    For the record, having actually lived yesterday, I can tell you things were absolutely not better.

    I really didn't understand the progress part.

    I don't think we are the same today as yesterday.  I think we are dumber. As a country I think we are getting dumber by the day and broadcast "news" has something to do with that.

    The fact is news organizations were taken more seriously once because they took themselves and their mission seriously.


    Huh (none / 0) (#55)
    by squeaky on Mon May 05, 2014 at 09:15:42 PM EST
    get off my lawn?  Did not intend anything like that. Sorry that you have gone into defensive mode.

    I don't think we are the same today as yesterday.  I think we are dumber.

    I believe that every generation of elders, for a very long time,  has said something similar.

    I wonder why that is.


    One possibility (none / 0) (#56)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 05, 2014 at 09:21:08 PM EST
    It's true.

    hahahaha (none / 0) (#57)
    by squeaky on Mon May 05, 2014 at 09:28:08 PM EST
    I guess having your life behind you makes things worse than having your life in front of you which seems better.

    I can see why it is perpetually true.


    I go back a bit farther than you do (none / 0) (#44)
    by Zorba on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:12:06 PM EST
    I am old enough (barely) to remember Edward R. Murrow.  Who, of course, had his own conflicts with CBS, so you are not incorrect about corporate sponsorships and all that.
    And I also grew up with Walter Cronkite, who was also not perfect.
    But both Murrow and Cronkite were head and shoulders above what we get now.

    Just reading about Murrow (none / 0) (#46)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:20:01 PM EST
    As the 1950s began, Murrow began his television career by appearing in editorial "tailpieces" on the CBS Evening News and in the coverage of special events. This came despite his own misgivings about the new medium and its emphasis on pictures rather than ideas.

    I remember him.  I was born in 1951 and have always been, as I am now, a tv baby.


    I'm older than you are, Howdy (none / 0) (#47)
    by Zorba on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:38:42 PM EST
    And my parents had the TV news on every night.   ;-)

    So did mine (none / 0) (#48)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:40:49 PM EST
    Never thought much about that but they did.  It was like a ritual along with dinner.  The evening news.

    Fascinating guy Murrow (none / 0) (#49)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:46:15 PM EST
    I was trying to remember hoe old I could have been.  The answer is 7.  The See It Now series is what I remember.

    Murrow's reporting brought him into repeated conflicts with CBS, especially its chairman Bill Paley, which Friendly summarized in his book Due to Circumstances Beyond our Control. See It Now ended entirely in the summer of 1958 after a clash in Paley's office. Murrow had complained to Paley he could not continue doing the show if the network repeatedly provided (without consulting Murrow) equal time to subjects who felt wronged by the program.

    According to Friendly, Murrow asked Paley if he was going to destroy See It Now, into which the CBS chief executive had invested so much. Paley replied that he did not want a constant stomach ache every time Murrow covered a controversial subject.[18]

    See It Now's final broadcast, "Watch on the Ruhr" (covering postwar Germany), aired July 7, 1958. Three months later, on October 15, 1958, in a speech before the Radio and Television News Directors Association in Chicago, Murrow blasted TV's emphasis on entertainment and commercialism at the expense of public interest in his 'wires and lights' speech:

    "    During the daily peak viewing periods, television in the main insulates us from the realities of the world in which we live. If this state of affairs continues, we may alter an advertising slogan to read: Look now, pay later.[19]


    Yes, It is A Benefit (none / 0) (#27)
    by squeaky on Mon May 05, 2014 at 02:58:56 PM EST
    And no different from the similar types of events that involve industry and clients.

    This type of quid pro quo, has been going on since time immemorial.  To cry, that we have lost something, is pure nostalgia and quite pathetic, imo.

    This is business, and America is based on it.


    Actually (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by jbindc on Mon May 05, 2014 at 03:01:13 PM EST
    It only became a "big deal" and attracted celebrities after Michael Kelly of the Baltimore Sun brought Fawn Hall one year (he brought Donna Rice the next year).

    For most of the history of this dinner, it was NOT a big deal to anyone outside DC.


    Well, I don't think this is what (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Anne on Mon May 05, 2014 at 03:54:48 PM EST
    people are "crying" about; I think we're all pretty clear about why you're taking this line of attack, though.

    And just because something has been going on since time immemorial doesn't mean people have to like it, agree with it or accept it.  I've noticed, though, that it's a weak rationale you resort to on a regular basis - it's not much of an argument, it's more like, well, I got nothin' so I'll just say "that's just the way it is."  

    Are the tummy rubs really that good that you want everyone to roll over like you do?

    Really, though, it's the global version of "well, that's just the way I am," a passively aggressive way people avoid ever having to change their behavior - just make it someone else's responsibility.


    Hardly (none / 0) (#35)
    by squeaky on Mon May 05, 2014 at 04:19:19 PM EST
    Protest is great, and sometimes requires years of struggle, as in civil rights, healthcare reform, environmental issues, etc.

    But to complain about the WH dinner as being an example of cronyism, that is an empty gesture, imo.


    Hey (none / 0) (#28)
    by jbindc on Mon May 05, 2014 at 02:59:24 PM EST
    My sister went to a party sponsored by a LARGE internet company and got to stand just feet away from President Fitz from "Scandal".

    So that was kind of exciting.  She didn't talk to him or get a picture, but she was there.



    DVRing (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 03, 2014 at 09:14:14 PM EST

    It WILL (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 03, 2014 at 09:51:06 PM EST
    be harded to convince people Hillarynwas born in Kenya.

    He was good.


    On the other hand (none / 0) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat May 03, 2014 at 10:13:31 PM EST
    I thought the headliner, whoever he was, was pretty dreadful.
    Couldn't take much of him.  No one was laughing so I don't think it was me.

    Agree on the headliner (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Sat May 03, 2014 at 10:27:40 PM EST
    see my update.

    "McHale: I had no idea who he is... (none / 0) (#5)
    by desertswine on Sat May 03, 2014 at 11:23:08 PM EST
    He's got a sitcom on NBC called Community. It's not bad and has kind of a cult following.

    I actually used to watch (none / 0) (#13)
    by Mikado Cat on Sun May 04, 2014 at 11:41:35 PM EST
    a clip show McHale did on all the daytime talk shows. He has a sort of dry humor on the show where he is more the straight man with the clips for the punch lines.

    Obama isn't so much boring to me, as I don't feel like its Obama I am seeing, but a forced fake personality. A scripted performance.

    Obama's team are best at politics, so calling a lame duck may be premature, but the next two years, the midterm elections, the investigations etc may drive the agenda.


    I did like the picture (none / 0) (#6)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun May 04, 2014 at 08:06:16 AM EST
     Of him sitting on The Iron Throne in a staff meeting.

    Low celebrity turnout ... (none / 0) (#16)
    by Robot Porter on Mon May 05, 2014 at 08:58:46 AM EST
    this year.

    Obama ain't the king of cool for the H'wood crowd anymore.

    Yes, the Hillary Kenya joke was the best of the night.  Though Biden couldn't have been too happy with it or the shoe joke.  Both seemed like tacit support for Hillary.

    I saw an article about how it is getting (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by ruffian on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:32:05 PM EST
    to be to much of a PITA for Hollywood celebrities to go. They spend the whole evening posing for selfies with star-struck reporters and political staffers.

    I didn't see any of the speeches (none / 0) (#20)
    by ruffian on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:35:18 PM EST
    but I did think the video with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Joe Biden was mostly funny.

    Biden (none / 0) (#36)
    by lentinel on Mon May 05, 2014 at 04:29:30 PM EST
    is not that good an actor - or at anything I suppose - but Michelle Obama was scarily good I thought.

    I thought the funniest part was when Julia Louis-Dreyfus did that dead-on impression of Kevin Spacey's drawl and camera-look.

    She is the best.


    Yes, that was my favorite part too (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by ruffian on Mon May 05, 2014 at 09:43:51 PM EST
    But god help me, maybe i watched it in a weak moment , but I thought Biden had some charisma.

    Put (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by lentinel on Tue May 06, 2014 at 07:24:46 AM EST
    on shades and a leather jacket - and add an yellow sports car... Anybody would have a bit of charisma with that regalia.

    But I know what you mean.

    He almost seemed likable - with almost a sense of humor.

    We have to make ourselves remember that he is, in reality, quite draconian.

    Him and that Cheshire cat grin.
    And a sprinkle of acting ability.
    And he puts one over on us.


    Yes, amazingly scary how easy it is (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by ruffian on Tue May 06, 2014 at 09:34:28 AM EST
    I snapped out of it!

    A primer (none / 0) (#32)
    by jbindc on Mon May 05, 2014 at 03:52:07 PM EST

    The WHCA's annual dinner, begun in 1920, has become a Washington, D.C., tradition and is usually attended by the President and Vice President.[1] Fifteen presidents have attended at least one WHCA dinner, beginning with Calvin Coolidge in 1924.[1] The dinner is traditionally held on the evening of the last Saturday in April at the Washington Hilton.

    Until 1962, the dinner was open only to men, even though WHCA's membership included women. At the urging of Helen Thomas, President John F. Kennedy refused to attend the dinner unless the ban on women was dropped.[4]

    Prior to World War II, the annual dinner featured singing between courses, a homemade movie and an hour-long, post-dinner show with big-name performers.[1] Since 1983, however, the featured speaker has usually been a comedian, with the dinner taking on the form of a roast of the President and his administration.

    The Dinner is a scholarship benefit for gifted students in collegial journalism programs.

    Many annual dinners were cancelled or downsized due to deaths or political crises. The dinner was cancelled in 1930 due to the death of former president William Howard Taft; in 1942, following the United States' entry into World War II; and in 1951, over what President Truman called the "uncertainty of the world situation."[5]

    Dinner criticisms

    The WHCD has been increasingly criticized as an example of the coziness between the White House press corps and the Administration.[6] The dinner typically includes a skit, either live or videotaped, by the sitting President in which he mocks himself, for the amusement of the press corps.[6] The press corps, in turn, hobnobs with Administration officials, even those who are unpopular and are not regularly cooperative with the press.[6] Increasing scrutiny by bloggers has contributed to added public focus on this friendliness.[6]

    After the 2007 dinner, New York Times columnist Frank Rich implied that the Times will no longer participate in the dinners.[7] Rich said that the event is "a crystallization of the press's failures in the post-9/11 era" because it "illustrates how easily a propaganda-driven White House can enlist the Washington news media in its shows."[7]

    In recent years, the dinners have drawn increasing public attention, and the guest list grows "more Hollywood".[3] The attention given to the guest list and entertainers often overshadows the intended purpose of the dinner, which is to "acknowledge award-winners, present scholarships, and give the press and the president an evening of friendly appreciation."[3] This has led to an atmosphere of coming to the event only to "see and be seen."[3] This usually takes place at pre-dinner receptions and post-dinner parties hosted by various media organizations, which are often a bigger draw and can be more exclusive than the dinners themselves.[

    Hate to say it... (none / 0) (#50)
    by unitron on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:07:07 PM EST
    ...but isn't C-SPAN to blame?

    Weren't they the first to start airing the thing?

    And of course once it started being televised...

    I think the nerd prom thing is probably an outgrowth of the saying that politics is show business for ugly people.

    Cspan (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Mikado Cat on Tue May 06, 2014 at 07:23:50 AM EST
    is about the only "good" thing related to cable. Its generally neutral, and unbiased coverage of events.

    WHCD was going to reach a public audience sooner or later, at least cspan would not edit it to increase the drama or change the meaning.


    No surprise with the awards (none / 0) (#62)
    by Mikado Cat on Tue May 06, 2014 at 07:34:26 AM EST
    "The judges chose two winners this year for Aldo Beckman Memorial Award, which recognizes repeated excellence in White House coverage. They are Glenn Thrush of Politico and Brianna Keilar of CNN.

    The judges of the Merriman Smith Memorial Award, which recognizes deadline work in both print and broadcast, honored Peter Baker of the New York Times and Peter Maer of CBS.

    And the judges of the Edgar A. Poe Award, which recognizes coverage of news of national or regional significance, chose two winners. They are Megan Twohey and a team at Reuters, and a joint work by The Center for Public Integrity in partnership with ABC News. An Honorable mention goes to The Seattle Times and reporter Craig Welch and photographer Steve Ringman."