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First major newspaper pulls out of WH Correspondents’ Dinners over disgraceful act, calls for ‘major changes’

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The White House Correspondents’ Association is apparently still feeling the effects from the disastrous dinner event that earned days of backlash.

Following the fallout in the wake of the White House Correspondents’ dinner, online political newspaper The Hill announced that it is pulling out of future events barring any “major reforms.” The Washington-based publication has joined the bipartisan reprisals  following the controversial and much-condemned performance at this year’s event by comedian Michelle Wolf.

(Image: screenshot)

In a letter to Steven Thomma, executive director of the White House Correspondents’ Association, The Hill’s chairman explained the decision.

“The Hill, which has participated in the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner for many years, does not plan at this time to participate in the event moving forward,” James Finkelstein wrote in a letter dated Tuesday.

“In short, there’s simply no reason for us to participate in something that casts our profession in a poor light. Major changes are needed to the annual event,” Finkelstein stated, citing Wolf’s “out of line” performance. He added that he hoped the event could get “back to talking about the importance of the Fourth Estate without the kind of ugly sideshow that completely overshadowed the event this year.

“Along those lines, we will happily donate in the future to the WHCA scholarship program and hope this program can produce future journalists to fight for freedom of the press while remaining non-partisan,” Finkelstein wrote. “In the meantime, without major reforms, The Hill no longer wishes to participate in future dinners.”

Wolf’s so-called jokes were not even received well by liberals in the crowd as her vile attempt at humor poked at topics ike abortion and focused on President Trump. Wolf’s relentless attack on White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders earned her plenty of anger as well as praise for the president’s spokesperson who handled it all with grace.

The stand-up comic with a new Netflix show delivered a routine that was so vulgar that, as Finkelstein noted, C-Span had to cut the radio feed during the event -a first in the event’s 104-year history. He also pointed out that, while some humor and roasting of personalities is expected at the gathering, the dinner “must be non-partisan and done without hostility and personal animus toward the party that occupies the White House — regardless of who is in power.”

WHCA president Margaret Talev issued a statement that wasn’t exactly an apology.

“Unfortunately, the entertainer’s monologue was not in the spirit of that mission,” she said.

Trump, who was miles away from the event at a rally in Michigan, slammed Wolf’s routine and suggested a change for next year’s event.

And while Wolf has come under fire for her routine, some comedians and talk show hosts, including late night hosts Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers as well as the co-hosts of The View, have come to her defense. Comedian Kathy Griffin, no stranger to controversy herself following her failed attempt at humor when she posted an image of herself holding a replica of a severed Trump head, took back her own apology in her support of Wolf.

As for the woman at the center of the fallout, she has no regrets.

“I wouldn’t change a single word. I’m very happy with what I said, and I’m glad I stuck to my guns,” she said.

As the dust settles and the press and media, which are the core of the event, lambaste the White House Correspondents’ Association, the organization would do well to rethink its annual program and who is invited to represent its mission.

Frieda Powers

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