White House Correspondents Dinner sees press hit back at Trump: 'We are not fake news'

The press defended themselves against the Trump's administration repeated attacks on them, in the face of his near-unprecedented absence from the event

Clarisse Loughrey
Sunday 30 April 2017 09:30
Comments
Watergate reporters confront 'fake news' and Trump in White House Correspondents' Dinner speeches

The White House Correspondents Dinner is usually an event of good will: the president is roasted, the president roasts back.

However, Donald Trump's near-unprecedented absence from this year's gathering threw an uncomfortable air over the whole evening; how does one celebrate the relationship between press and president when it has been nothing but hostile in the light of Trump's ascendancy?

An opportunity, then, for the press to take a stand against the administration who has done its best to destroy them, as White House Correspondents Association head Jeff Mason told attendees: "We cannot ignore the rhetoric that has been employed by the president about who we are and what we do. We are not fake news. We are not failing news organisations. And we are not the enemy of the American people."

Trump's absence marked the first president-less Correspondents Dinner since Reagan skipped the event in 1981, missing the gathering after his infamous assassination attempt, though he still gave his regards via telephone.

It appears Trump's only reason not to attend this year is, as host Hasan Minhaj joked, the fact he "can't take a joke"; Minhaj still liberally lambasted Trump, but elsewhere the evening's tone shifted to a wider celebration of journalism itself.

"We are here to celebrate the press, not the presidency," Mason continued. In reference to speculation Trump's absence would impact interest in the gathering, he added, “I am happy to report for anyone who’s interested that this dinner is sold out.”

Host Hasan Minhaj roasts Trump at the White House Correspondents' Dinner

Similar sentiments were expressed by journalist Bob Woodward, known for breaking the Watergate scandal during Nixon's presidency, who stated: "The press, especially the so-called mainstream media, comes under regular attack. Mr. President, the media is not fake news. Let’s take that off the table as we proceed."

The event saw host Hasan Minhaj, of The Daily Show, tear into Donald Trump and his administration, despite apparently being asked not to.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in