Yes it has, and it’s not a new development. I first wrote about the ridiculous pageantry of media celebrity a couple of years ago (complete with a Lindsay Lohan-themed poll), and Noah’s written consistently about the same problem for the last three years. Jake Tapper told Hugh Hewitt last night that it has become “so self-congratulatory and self-referential and so self-reverential” that it completely overshadows what it’s supposed to be celebrating. And it’s getting worse:
HH: So were you at the dinner?
JT: I was. I was. You know, it’s kind of, you know, I saw Chuck there, Chuck Todd, and we were talking about being there, and he had an observation that I think is on target. It’s work. I mean, for, you know, it’s a work thing that you go to. It’s not, I’ll tell you, for my wife, it’s something that she enjoys going to, because she doesn’t really, you know, we don’t go to a lot of fancy dress balls, so it is something that she enjoys gusseting herself up for and going to. But I mean, you know, it’s kind of a drag, and I totally understand why people hate the optics of it, or that people look down on Washington. I saw somebody on Twitter, @redseas, I think it was, saying after watching some coverage or reading tweets about it, he understood the French Revolution a whole lot better.
JT: I mean, I understand why people don’t, why people on the left and the right and the center don’t like it.
HH: But the question is Ezra Klein wrote the President wasn’t being funny. He was being pointed and making commentary, and there’s a debate at Powerline Blog. I’ll have John Hinderaker on later. Did you think it was qualitatively different than years past?
JT: I just think it was, it’s so self-congratulatory and self-referential and so self-reverential, and you know, the stuff that it’s supposed to be about, which is the scholarships and the other, you know, recognizing good journalism, are just so overwhelmed and outshone by the parties and the elitism. And it’s just, I don’t know, I just think, look, I’m a member of the White House Correspondents Association. And I think they do important work in pressing for access and in rewarding journalism that speaks truth to power. But I just, to be completely honest, I just think it’s gotten out of control.
Was the dinner itself worse this year? To be honest, I ignored the whole event, which is the strategy I’d recommend to everyone. Jake was there and would know better about the event itself, but the circumstances around the event made NerdProm 2015 much, much worse. The nearby city of Baltimore was about to erupt into flames, and the collective national media and national leadership were too immersed in their self-adoration that they couldn’t be bothered to deal with it. CNN infamously suggested that people who wanted real news should turn to Twitter instead.
Jon Stewart agreed, in much stronger terms. Starting off describing it as an “incestuous clusterf*** for a good cause,” Stewart feigns shock when he finds out how much of this actually goes to the scholarship fund:
He was slightly less apologetic when he learned that around $90,000 would be given out in scholarship awards.
“P-per person?” Stewart asked nervously. “For God sake’s, Donald Trump’s probably got more hidden than that in his hair!”
Stewart was even more aghast when a clip showed CNN went to commercial break just as the scholarship winners took the stage.
“Motherf*****s, that was it!” he said, launching out of his seat. “That was the thing it was about!”
Kind of like the Clinton Foundation’s record of charitable giving, eh?