There’s a fond dream of mine that I awake the morning after the next president’s inauguration, regardless of who it is, and the media is in a state of shock. Why? Because the the new president’s first official action has been to announce he or she has no plans ever to attend another White House Correspondent’s dinner.
This exercise in mass narcissism has morphed from a simple evening dinner between the president and the D.C. media that was “off the record” into a three-day orgy of self-congratulatory excess, televised live and very much “on the record.”
The humor is biting but the president has the last word. President Obama could probably make it as a comedian in his next incarnation.
The event though has devolved into a cross between the Oscars and the inauguration - a three day festival of parties and excessive drinking.
This is the Fourth Estate at its worst - pompous, arrogant, demanding its due, pretentious and petty.
No longer is it just the correspondents and writers sitting at the table. Now the various media companies compete to see which can be a news maker by having the most powerful guest, say the vice president or the Speaker or the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Or which company will have the current “in” starlet with the most revealing dress as a guest. No longer either is it enough to score a ticket to the main event. Nope. There are pre-dinner parties and post-dinner parties that one must attend, and of course it must be the correct one. You know how important appearance is in the surreal, make believe world inside the “Beltway.”
This past weekend another one of these travesties was held. Of course the news was that creature of the media, that presidential candidate almost entirely created by the media, that ingrate, Donald Trump, did not attend. In a word he “dissed” the very people who think they had a hand in his creation.
Of course he did. What did the sponsors think he would do? If there is a quintessential example of narcissism, its Donald Trump. One suspects that next to the word in Webster’s Dictionary is a picture of the Donald. One of the world’s largest egos, grandest and greatest narcissists is not about to share the spotlight with either a bunch of junior Trump aspirants or even a President of the United States.
The ultimate irony is that the Fourth Estate, especially as represented by CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, DID have a hand in the creation of the Trump phenomena. The number of minutes devoted to coverage of Trump compared to other candidates was simply staggering, through the fall, winter and spring.
There was always an underlying presumption that it was just a matter of time until the Donald would implode, that his base would figure out he was a fraud, a liberal not a conservative, a Democrat not a Republican, pro-choice not pro-life, for gay marriage not against. His support would then start to fade and reveal itself to be a joke.
It reminds one of song from the 60’s by the BeeGees: ‘I started a joke that started the whole world laughing. . . . . “ Turns out it should dawn on somebody that the joke is on the Fourth Estate. Trump rewrote all the rules, and because he was great for ratings, and ad revenue soared, exceptions and excuses were made for Trump.
What has not dawned on hardly any member of the Fourth Estate is the Donald figured out that most media has zero credibility with the voting public. All he cares about his his name identification, which he has in astronomic numbers, and that they respond to the agenda he dictates.
When the voting public has lost almost all trust in their government and simply don’t believe most of what they hear or read in or by the media, it should dawn on the Fourth Estate that a growing sentiment to send Trump to make changes in the way they do business is not merely aimed at government, its also taking dead aim on changing the Fourth Estate.