The White House Correspondents’ Dinner Returns to Jokes and a Trial for Normality

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, refused to go to dinner because of the obvious danger. The organizers require all guests to be vaccinated, boosted and tested negative before attending, although very few people wear masks other than service staff. As a concession to the potential risk, Mr. Biden, 79, who is in the high-risk age group, skipped dinner and only attended the evening’s speech.

But his presence is intended to signal a return to normality after Mr. Trump’s fight in the news media. While Mr. Biden, like other presidents, has complained about his reporting, sometimes snapping at reporters asking questions he doesn’t care about, aides said he plans to make a decision. attended to reaffirm his support for a free press.

“The free press is not the enemy of the people,” Biden said. “Away from it. At your best, you are a defender of the truth.” He specifically mentioned those who have covered the battlefields of Ukraine, a reminder of the importance of journalism.

Still, the president gently chastised journalists, encouraging them to avoid sensationalism and trivialization. “The First Amendment gives a free press special protection,” he said, “but with it, as many of you know, the very burdensome obligation to seek the good truth. as much as possible, not to hype or entertain but to enlighten and educate. ”

“There is an incredible amount of pressure on all of you to channel heat instead of shine,” he said, adding, “American democracy is not a reality show.”

The Correspondents’ Association added a serious point to the evening’s festivities by honoring two Black pioneers of the White House press crew, Alice Dunnigan and Ethel Payne, two of three African-American journalists. regularly reported on the White House. in the 1950s. It also pays tribute to journalists killed in Ukraine and singled out the family of Austin Ticea reporter was kidnapped in Syria in 2012.

But the event continues to return as an outrageous Washington flagship exercise, marked by days of lavish, expensive, booze-filled parties held throughout the city late into the night, brings together members of the political class with journalists covering them and the occasional fixture of Hollywood, Wall Street, and other American institutions.

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