Video: Conan O’Brien to host WHCA “nerd prom”

posted at 12:41 pm on February 21, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Not so long ago, the White House Correspondents Dinner actually served a good purpose. It allowed for a more human connection between a President and the tough media professionals clamoring to hold him accountable for his exercise of power. The last time Conan O’Brien hosted it, that made sense, and now he’s back again for a moment of nostalgia:

They hope that Conan doesn’t cross any lines? Why should he, when the press corps itself doesn’t seem interested in doing so? This news prompted me to write a rant for The Fiscal Times about the supine position that the Fourth Estate has taken during the Obama presidency, and which has been more clear than usual this week:

It’s true that Obama has managed to parlay friendly interviews into final words on subjects, with hardly any tough follow-up questions from reporters.  That’s not entirely from Obama’s choice of interviewers, however.  While noting that “[t]he super-safe, softball interview is an Obama specialty,” the pair point out that the most recent partner in that effort was CBS News’ Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes, who normally has a reputation for playing hardball with American politicians.

Twenty-five years ago, CBS News anchor Dan Rather called then-Vice President George Bush a “wimp” and got a dressing-down from the World War II pilot.  Last month, when asked by Piers Morgan why Obama chose him, Kroft replied, “I think he knows that we’re not going to play gotcha with him.”  The result, said Kirsten Powers, was something that looked more like “propaganda” from “state-run media.”

Later in the same day as Politico’s essay explained that the press is somehow incapable of asking tough questions during an Obama interview, NBC’s Chuck Todd also insisted that this had nothing to do with a liberal bias in the media.  “[T]he mythology of the big, bad non-conservative media has gotten into some offices,” Todd replied when asked why Republican politicians have become more reluctant to appear on networks like NBC.  Just a couple of hours later, Todd’s network proudly announced that they had just hired Obama’s political strategist David Axelrod as their new political analyst, making Todd’s argument just a wee bit more difficult to take seriously. …

The “nerd prom” is an annual event, intended to provide a respite from the normally-intense scrutiny that the media applies to a President and allow for a more congenial atmosphere.  However, given the lack of intensity or scrutiny coming from the media during this presidency, we’re more likely to see O’Brien get tougher with the President than most of the attendees.  The dinner will give Americans a break from the clown show that has been the softball media treatment of Obama.

IBD isn’t impressed with NBC’s new choice of analyst, either:

As if media bias weren’t troublesome enough, the ascent of President Obama’s top strategist to a plum job at NBC creates an even bigger issue: that of the political establishment becoming the press. Where does it end?

In a way, the hiring of David Axelrod as “senior political analyst” providing commentary at NBC seems like a fool’s errand from a business standpoint.

After all, the White House senior adviser has pretty much been giving NBC and other big media outlets commentary for free during the Obama administration, if the slavish pro-Obama media bias, as well as secretive media-political collaborations such as the “JournoList” listserv are any indication.

But we doubt this is really about Axelrod’s “keen insights into the political process” or however the public relations department intends to market it.

It’s a payoff, a reward for past access, and a one-hand-washes-other act that marks the increasingly symbiotic relationship between the political establishment and the supposedly free and independent press.

Expect to see that on display at Nerd Prom, too, where comedians come closer to seriousness than most of the attendees.


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will conan roast the press?

cmsinaz on February 21, 2013 at 12:48 PM

The Punk in Chief is the biggest clown, evah.

Schadenfreude on February 21, 2013 at 12:50 PM

show of hands of how many folks will actually watch it…

cmsinaz on February 21, 2013 at 12:51 PM

The old media is in a death spiral.

rbj on February 21, 2013 at 12:51 PM

This news prompted me to write a rant for The Fiscal Times about the supine position that the Fourth Estate has taken during the Obama presidency, …

While the actual taxpayers are clearly in a prone position …

M240H on February 21, 2013 at 12:52 PM

The Punk in Chief is the biggest clown, evah.

If only he were just a clown, he might be entertaining.

hawkeye54 on February 21, 2013 at 12:52 PM

about the supine position that the Fourth Estate has taken

Wake up Ed, America no Fourth Estate, it has become a Fifth Column Treasonous Media.

SWalker on February 21, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Wonder if Dr. Carson will be invited to give a speech?

NOT in this lifetime!
L

letget on February 21, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Isn’t Conan O’Brien the long-lost twin of Carrot Top?

Bitter Clinger on February 21, 2013 at 12:53 PM

The least funny late night host. Appropriate, because it’s not really a laughing matter any more.

Cleombrotus on February 21, 2013 at 12:56 PM

And here I’d set my hopes on Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin.

Drained Brain on February 21, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Cleombrotus on February 21, 2013 at 12:56 PM

good point

cmsinaz on February 21, 2013 at 12:58 PM

letget on February 21, 2013 at 12:53 PM

The stupid is thick with this one.

Capitalist Hog on February 21, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Isn’t Conan O’Brien the long-lost twin of Carrot Top?

Bitter Clinger on February 21, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Your comment is the very-distant relative of humor.

Capitalist Hog on February 21, 2013 at 1:01 PM

They all get to worship Obama in person instead of from afar. BLECH!

Liam on February 21, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Conan really needs to model his performance after Imus’ 1996 WHCA dinner performance – over the top skewering of the classless Clinton

phreshone on February 21, 2013 at 1:02 PM

I don’t think Conan is an odd choice at all. Just odd really.

Bmore on February 21, 2013 at 1:03 PM

What’s the dress code?

Black tie and tails or knee pads and bib?

fogw on February 21, 2013 at 1:04 PM

This should turn into an Obama Roast. But his ego couldn’t take it.

portlandon on February 21, 2013 at 1:04 PM

The old media is in a death spiral.

rbj on February 21, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Get out of your echo chamber, and you’ll see how wrong you are. The old media is in danger of losing about 40% of their viewers/readers/listeners, which is compensated by increased dedication among the other 60%, absence of necessity to work hard and do actual journalism, and generous compensations, courtesy of governmental corporations and cronies.

Archivarix on February 21, 2013 at 1:04 PM

A Comedy of Phony Comity.

rayra on February 21, 2013 at 1:09 PM

The stupid is thick with this one.

Capitalist Hog on February 21, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Your comment is the very-distant relative of humor.

Capitalist Hog on February 21, 2013 at 1:01 PM

You’re not a very happy person, are you?

steebo77 on February 21, 2013 at 1:13 PM

letget on February 21, 2013 at 12:53 PM

The stupid is thick with this one.

Capitalist Hog on February 21, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Isn’t Conan O’Brien the long-lost twin of Carrot Top?

Bitter Clinger on February 21, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Your comment is the very-distant relative of humor.

Capitalist Hog on February 21, 2013 at 1:01 PM

You need a Midol milkshake.

Will the swag bag include knee pads and penus shaped pens, with a rumor that the mold was from Preezy himself? Maybe some salt peter so Chris Matthews and David Gregory don’t get out of hand, so to speak, again, while Preezy is speaking?

AllahsNippleHair on February 21, 2013 at 1:17 PM

It won’t happen, but how awesome would it be if Conan put his hands up by his face in a dog begging style and prefaced it with “My impression of the White House Press Corps.”

“What are we gonna talk about today, Mr. President? Huh? Huh? Huh? What awesomeness are you allowing us to witness? Huh? Huh?”

Pathetic.

Sponge on February 21, 2013 at 1:17 PM

The Coco & Bobo Showshow

/

Christien on February 21, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Conan O’Brien is proof that aliens exist.

He’s about as funny as nausea.

After Johnny Carson, the lot of them are talentless hacks … bums.

OhEssYouCowboys on February 21, 2013 at 1:18 PM

it has become a Fifth Column Treasonous Media.

American Pravda at its finest….since at least the late ’60s. Its just gotten more obvious and flaunting its ideology in the last decade or so.

hawkeye54 on February 21, 2013 at 1:19 PM

The White House Correspondents Dinner is better than ever…..FOR ME TO POOP ON!!!

Aw, man. What I wouldn’t give for Conan to allow Triumph the Insult Comic Dog to appear at the podium.

Doughboy on February 21, 2013 at 1:20 PM

This will be the only time I watch Conan, but I’ll probably bow out early if/when he starts slobbering all over dog-eater.

HiJack on February 21, 2013 at 1:20 PM

Clown show.
============

How Socially(ist) Progressive!!

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 1:20 PM

Doughboy on February 21, 2013 at 1:20 PM

Triumph would be hilarious…but imagine if Conan let a certain bear have a cameo.

Christien on February 21, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Aw, man. What I wouldn’t give for Conan to allow Triumph the Insult Comic Dog to appear at the podium.

Doughboy on February 21, 2013 at 1:20 PM

Now, THAT is something that would be worth watching! In fact, how about running Triumph for prez?

HiJack on February 21, 2013 at 1:22 PM

letget on February 21, 2013 at 12:53 PM

The stupid is thick with this one.

Capitalist Hog on February 21, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Isn’t Conan O’Brien the long-lost twin of Carrot Top?

Bitter Clinger on February 21, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Your comment is the very-distant relative of humor.

Capitalist Hog on February 21, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Must be that time of the month. I feel for ya’.

Bitter Clinger on February 21, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Capitalist Hog on February 21, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Capitalist Hog on February 21, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Take your racism somewhere else, racist.

Christien on February 21, 2013 at 1:24 PM

What’s the dress code?

Black tie and tails or knee pads and bib?

fogw on February 21, 2013 at 1:04 PM

You said “black”. Racist police knocking on your door in 3…2…1…

HiJack on February 21, 2013 at 1:25 PM

HiJack on February 21, 2013 at 1:25 PM

He also said “dress,” which is sexist.

Christien on February 21, 2013 at 1:28 PM

As if media bias weren’t troublesome enough, the ascent of President Obama’s top strategist to a plum job at NBC creates an even bigger issue: that of the political establishment becoming the press. Where does it end?
=============

Me thinks,How Does it End!??

canopfor on February 21, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Triumph would be hilarious…but imagine if Conan let a certain bear have a cameo.

Christien on February 21, 2013 at 1:22 PM

I think the media members in attendance will suffice. They do the same thing in Obama’s presence as that bear did on Conan’s show.

Now, THAT is something that would be worth watching! In fact, how about running Triumph for prez?

HiJack on February 21, 2013 at 1:22 PM

The puppet becomes the puppet master. It would be poetic.

Doughboy on February 21, 2013 at 1:33 PM

I found it interesting in Ed’s Fiscal Times rant, that even Kirsten Powers called out Kroft for his tongue bath interview of Obama. Maybe there is hope for Kirsten still. She is one of the few liberals that seem to get it from time to time. I met Kirsten a few years back, and she found her to be a very nice and engaging person.

simkeith on February 21, 2013 at 1:36 PM

I used to think Conan was funny……..several year ago.

Today, he’s just strange and abnormal, more than the eccentric I used to think.

avagreen on February 21, 2013 at 1:36 PM

It follows, then, that he’d host something for the strange, abnormal one in the WH. Brothers from a different mother (or father?.who knows?).

avagreen on February 21, 2013 at 1:39 PM

I used to think Conan was funny……..several year ago.

Today, he’s just strange and abnormal, more than the eccentric I used to think.

avagreen on February 21, 2013 at 1:36 PM

You made me laugh. LOL … “strange and abnormal” … I couldn’t agree more – but, like I said, after Carson, they all suck.

OhEssYouCowboys on February 21, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Take your racism somewhere else, racist.

Christien on February 21, 2013 at 1:24 PM

ROTFLMAO!

Thank you. That was hilarious. It was almost as funny as the idea of expecting a neurosurgeon to speak at the WHCD.

Seriously, thank you.

Capitalist Hog on February 21, 2013 at 2:08 PM

What’s funnier is the idea that Dr. Carson needs you, an under-educated dullard, to defend his intellectual integrity.

Capitalist Hog on February 21, 2013 at 2:09 PM

The old media is in a death spiral.

rbj on February 21, 2013 at 12:51 PM

No they’re not. They’ll outlive their independence and dignity. Conservatives shouldn’t simply count on their demise, but instead work toward it.

EricW on February 21, 2013 at 2:22 PM

It was almost as funny as the idea of expecting a neurosurgeon to speak at the WHCD.

Seriously, thank you.

Capitalist Hog on February 21, 2013 at 2:08 PM

So, I’m guessing you don’t get ironic statements? *sad*

It’s a trait of many on the liberal side of life and humor….

avagreen on February 21, 2013 at 2:50 PM

OhEssYouCowboys on February 21, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Thanks.

I get kicks reading your comment, too.

I’ve read on other forums that people that can’t post here (missed the deadlines) tune in just to read the erudite humor displayed by posters here.
:)

avagreen on February 21, 2013 at 2:58 PM

neurosurgeon

Capitalist Hog on February 21, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Like I said, racist.

Christien on February 21, 2013 at 3:54 PM

The White House Correspondents Dinner is better than ever…..FOR ME TO POOP ON!!!

Aw, man. What I wouldn’t give for Conan to allow Triumph the Insult Comic Dog to appear at the podium.

Doughboy on February 21, 2013 at 1:20 PM

I still like Conan. He’s on late night and I’m in that frame of mind.

He might work Triumph in to a recap of the WHCA on a future show – that would be funny!

22044 on February 21, 2013 at 5:01 PM

So, I’m guessing you don’t get ironic statements? *sad*

It’s a trait of many on the liberal side of life and humor….

avagreen on February 21, 2013 at 2:50 PM

Look up “irony” and “humor.” Make your best case for the existence of either within your magnificently-stupid comment.

Capitalist Hog on February 22, 2013 at 1:50 AM