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The White House Correspondents Association Dinner And Other Fake News

President Trump’s decision not to attend the White House Correspondents Association dinner set off a predictable orgy of establishment media attacks against the outsider President for violating another Washington “tradition.” 

The White House Correspondents Association was formed in the early part of the twentieth century and Trump tweetthe first dinner was held in 1920. The first President to attend was Calvin “Silent Cal” Coolidge in 1924, so this is hardly a “tradition” formed in the misty past of the Republic. 

Contrary to what today’s corporate media would like you to believe, annual attendance by the President is not mandated by “tradition.” Presidents since Coolidge have attended at least once during their term in office, but not every year. 

What’s more, the dinner has evolved over the years in format and in its treatment of the President. 

According to History.com, guests in the 1920s and 1930s enjoyed singing between courses, movies and increasingly extravagant variety shows featuring well-known entertainers. The parade of celebrity performers became ever more impressive as the likes of Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington and Barbra Streisand appeared onstage.  

However, not until comedian Mark Russell headlined in 1983, did stand-up acts by leading comics selected each year replace the star-studded cabaret. 

And it is probably no accident that the “tradition” of harshly lampooning the President and sometimes the First Lady while they sat in the audience began while a Republican President, Ronald Reagan, was in the White House. 

Likewise, the invitation of celebrities and other household names by journalists and news organizations is a recent innovation. It began, according to History.com, when Baltimore Sun reporter Michael Kelly arrived at the party with paparazzi target Fawn Hall, secretary to Oliver North during the Iran-Contra affair, in 1987. The age of elaborate after-parties dawned around the same time as a promotional tool for the corporate media giants who benefited from the self-congratulatory media attention they generated. 

What’s more, the White House Correspondents Association was actually formed in response to a fake news story. 

History.com reports that in early 1914, the White House announced that Woodrow Wilson would hold a series of regularly scheduled press conferences. To the dismay of career White House reporters, whispers swirled that a congressional committee would determine which journalists deserved invitations. It turned out that the selection committee had been a rumor – fake news in other words. 

So, in keeping with the ‘tradition” of the White House Correspondents Association dinner we offer some “news” about the media courtesy of our friend Tim LeFever.

Breaking from the White House Press Corps

At 3 am Donald Trump tweeted that strawberry ice cream was better than vanilla ice cream. 

CNN immediately reported this as breaking news and then criticized the President for getting off message to discuss such irrelevancies.  CNN then announced that the network would present a two-hour special report on ice cream later in the week. 

Chris Matthews was the first to note that Hitler also liked strawberry ice cream. 

USA Today reported that an anonymous source had confirmed division inside of the White House as Steve Bannon is suspected of having ties to advocates of vanilla ice cream. 

Within hours of the original tweet, a New York based ice cream manufacturer committed to building a new plant and creating 50 new jobs to meet anticipated increased demand for strawberry ice cream.   

A New York member of Congress assured the Wall Street Journal that hearings would be held to find out if the President had tweeted his promotion of strawberry ice cream while on federal grounds, potentially violating ethics rules. 

Sen. Chuck Schumer followed this with a call for all members of the Trump family to divest their holdings in any company that manufactures ice cream and to commit to not serving ice cream in Trump properties around the world. 

Rep. Maxine Waters then renewed her call that Trump be removed from office based on his mental condition and preoccupation with frozen desserts. 

The White House Correspondents Association was formed when eleven press corps members banded together to establish an association for “the promotion of the interests of those reporters and correspondents assigned to cover the White House.” 

The purpose of the Correspondents Association isn’t protection of the First Amendment or any other such noble purpose – it’s a business association, much like the Chamber of Commerce, that was set-up to protect the commercial interests of its members. 

And, despite the self-promotion, the Correspondents Association dinner is hardly a “tradition” in the sense most Americans think of our national traditions, such as turkey for Thanksgiving dinner or fireworks on the Fourth of July. 

It’s really more like a Presidents Day mattress sale – and a commercial celebration of fake news by the fake “journalists” of the corporate media elite.

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