April 29, 2012

Celebrating the incest between Washington media and power

If you want to know how Washington politicians get away with so much, read stories like this. The Washington media has become embedded in an incestuous relationship with power that makes it highly unreliable and untrustworthy to its supposed audience. And it gets worse by the year.

Dan Zak, Washington Post - Hollywood and Washington went on a romantic date Saturday night in the basement ballroom of the Washington Hilton, where more than 2,000 politicians, celebrities, journalists and hangers-on dined on crabmeat terrine and chocolate truffles and belly-laughed at remarks delivered by President Obama and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel during the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

...Off the dais, elites mingled with elites. Kate Hudson was next to former secretary of state Colin Powell and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Sofia Vergara of “Modern Family” and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) cracked each other up and posed for photos together. When the dessert course arrived, Vergara ate half her mousse. Christie cleaned his plate.

The dinner is perhaps the only venue on the planet where erstwhile presidential candidate Rick Santorum would snap a photo of eternally addled starlet Lindsay Lohan. Which he did. Lohan, whose date appeared to be her attorney, sat at Fox News’s table (No. 63) with Kim Kardashian, who’s famous because the media keeps her famous.

“I have the nuclear codes,” Obama said in a voice-over that lampooned his hot-mike moment with Dmitri Medvedev this month. “What am doing telling knock-knock jokes to Kim Kardashian?”

The yearly dinner is an opportunity for elected officials to momentarily ignore the business of the people, for journalists to pretend they’re stars, for the 1 percent to use second-rate California chardonnay to cleanse their palate of the aggravations of the real world: the deteriorating situation in Syria, for example, and the slowing of both U.S. economic growth and the country’s personal saving rate , which declined for the sixth straight quarter to 3.9 percent.

But all was bubbly at the Hilton, and pundits and politicians seemed to drop their adversarial role-playing — an act that keeps them on air or in office — in favor of buddy-buddiness. The Gingriches were mobbed by well-wishers at a pre-dinner reception hosted by this very newspaper.

...The White House Correspondents’ Association was founded in 1914, and the dinner became an annual tradition in 1920. Calvin Coolidge was the first president to attend, in 1924, and the dinner finally admitted women, at the prodding of Helen Thomas, in 1962. Its official function is to honor journalists and award scholarships, though the glitz outshines the recipients.

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