It involved journalists cozying up to the government officials they are supposed to treat with a sense of adversarial independence, all while trying to get selfies with the likes of Helen Mirren, Jeff Goldblum and Scarlett Johansson.
“The main purpose of the evening,” John Oliver quipped, “seems to be providing photos of glamorous celebrities completely unaware of who they’re standing next to.”
President Trump has changed all that. By refusing to attend the dinner himself and by making the government-press relationship truly adversarial — “enemy of the people,” etc. — he’s sandblasted the high gloss off the party.
What’s left is a high-minded journalism awards dinner, which is what the organizers, all along, defended it as.