A report last week by Reporters Without Borders outlines the “growing animosity towards journalists” worldwide: the president of the Philippines saying journalists “are not exempted from assassination,” the president of the Czech Republic attending a news conference with a fake Kalashnikov inscribed “for journalists,” Slovakia’s prime minister calling journalists “filthy anti-Slovak prostitutes.” As murders of journalists predictably swell, the killers go free in nine out of 10 cases.
Against this gruesome backdrop, the White House Correspondents’ Association recognizes its chummy dinner is an anachronism. My friend Margaret Talev, the association’s president, used her speech on Saturday to mention Austin Tice, an American journalist held in Syria. Olivier Knox, the incoming president, has said he wants to make the dinner “boring.”
How about better than boring? Move the dinner back a week, to honor World Press Freedom Day, and cancel the comedians.