Friday, April 29, 2011

do not touch

Of course, Kardashian and Van Sustren. What a scoop.
As a former reporter (although still-aspiring long-form journalist), who has never been even close to attaining an invitation to a soiree like the White House Correspondents Dinner, I feel good about the scathing critique of such events that Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank published this morning. He says he won't be attending this weekend because these black-tie events have gotten "out of control."

And it's true, although I argue, were they ever really in control? Sure, the influx of what Milbank calls the "cool kids," which he understandably describes as Hollywood actors and musicians before oddly adding Bristol Palin to that list, makes absolutely no sense. It's like inviting remedial kids to the Mensa soiree (or probably, actually, the other way around). These "cool kids" have nothing directly to do with politics or the news media, so why is Charles Krauthammer getting a handie under the table from Paula Abdul? (Hypothetically, I think.) The only celebrity Krauthammer should let caress his balls is Donald Trump.* Why? Because he's different than Abdul. Although both often act like meth addicts, Trump at least has something (unfortunately, yet laughably) to do with what a political reporter or columnist might talk about. 

But here's where I really have a problem with these dinners and, yes, I'm going to keep talking about Krauthammer's junk. He shouldn't be getting touched by anybody -- celebrity or politician -- so why is there a special event that not only makes this possible but practically encourages it? See, here's the thing about these dinners: they're pretty unethical. They're meant to be bonding nights between the reporters and the subjects they are supposedly impartially covering. As a news consumer, I don't want these people becoming friends. That goes against what the news media is supposed to be doing, which is covering the actions of these people through a critical, unattached eye.

Yup. Love-Hewitt and Powell. This makes sense.
And really, what a missed opportunity for the smart reporter. I mean, think about it: these lucky journalists aren't just getting these politicians together in one room, they're also getting them plied with liquor! You'd have to be an idiot to choose "bonding" -- a Trump handjob, as it were -- over YOUR JOB, especially in this scenario because when people start getting tipsy, they also start saying dumb things (although Trump does that sober). These dinners are where state secrets should be vomited all over the world!

But instead everyone will get distracted by Cee-Lo, who'll hopefully serenade these people with the uncensored version of "Forget You." They'll spend the entire night trying to decipher what Steven Tyler just said to them. They'll tweet that they just met Courtney Cox...

And maybe that's for the best, because if it's a choice between the reporters we depend on losing their credibility because they got a little too personal (or biblical, in the case of Trump and Krauthammer) with their subject matter or the reporters and politicians, alike, just ogling celebrities, I'd rather they choose the latter. Unfortunately, though, for both the news industry and us readers, they'll probably choose all of the above.

*To Krauthammer's credit (something he doesn't earn very often, in my opinion), he's actually been a pretty big critic of Trump's new political ambitions. It'll be interesting to see if anything changes after tomorrow's handie dinner.


FoggyDew said...

Is it me or does it look like Powell is pretty much doing his best to gaze down J-LoHe's dress as he cops a feel? Not that I blame him, of course, but is the White House.

When I worked as a reporter I never accepted even a glass of water from someone I was writing a story about, wrote a story about or might write a story about. It's just easier to have a no exceptions policy. Oh, and the parent company of the last paper I worked for (rhymes with "worst") had a pretty strict "we'll fire your ass if you accept anything from anyone" policy. That made it easy.

seo link building said...

It's just easier to have a no exceptions policy. Oh, and the parent company of the last paper.