WASHINGTON, May 1, 2017 – The last time a sitting president missed the White House Correspondents Dinner, he was in a hospital bed recovering from a gunshot wound. Saturday evening, President Donald Trump decided to follow in Ronald Reagan’s footsteps and dodge the self-congratulatory annual soiree as if dodging a bullet.
Having ducked Washington’s fake news confab, Trump instead traveled to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to attend a rally celebrating his 100 days in office.
“As you may know, there’s another big gathering taking place tonight in Washington, D.C.,” the president told the crowd of supporters. “A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation’s capital right now. They are gathered together for the White House Correspondents Dinner without the president. And I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington’s swamp, spending my evening with all of you, and with a much, much larger crowd, and much better people, right?”
The crowd cheered and then chanted, “USA! USA! USA!”
“Media outlets like CNN and MSNBC are fake news… fake news,” Trump added.
Back in D.C., the correspondent’s dinner was a somber affair, with attendance down from years past. A good portion of the brave Hollywood contingent of the left’s anti-Trump “resistance” did not come, refusing to don their designer gowns and gleaming jewels in a show of solidarity with the common peasants they portray on film.
You know? Like the ones who put Trump in the White House.
Thus abandoned, the media was left to fend for itself. Associated Press President Jeff Mason told the Washington Post, “We are not fake news. We are not failing news organizations. And we are not the enemy of the American people.”
Master of ceremonies and Daily Show host Hasan Minhaj told the gathering that the president was “not beyond the reach of the First Amendment” and that the “man who tweets everything that enters his head refuses to acknowledge the amendment that allows him to do it.”
Last September, the Gallup organization found a mere 32 percent of Americans “have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.”
Media bias was clearly on display during the eight long years of the Obama administration, and it continued throughout Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Today, it remains a comical, over-the-top drumbeat, as exemplified in its “Manchurian Candidate” conspiracy-theory coverage regarding Trump’s so-called silent coup on behalf of his so-called Russian handlers.
The take-away: Media bias comes at a price.
Slanted reporting is undoubtedly protected by the First Amendment. But that amendment does not require distrustful and disgusted Americans to listen.