Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
May 2, 2010

Have Some More Cake: Another White House Correspondents’ Dinner

<span style="font-size: x-small;">Jonathan Ernst/Reuters</span>
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Simultaneous with oil about to drench the Gulf coastline, Wall Street investment banks on as big a roll as ever, a near forgotten dual-slog in Afghanistan and Iraq, and, in the most surreal-and-hyper-real twist of the night, a serious bomb scare closing down Time Square while Jay Leno fumbled through pathetic inanities and a cheap roll call of Beltway elite, those watching this specticle had no trouble grasping the essence here, an empire feasting on celebrity culture.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

If not quite Bacchanalian, this “biting” wire photo captures the indulgent quality of that (actually week-long) Hollywood-meets-press corp-meets-corporate America-meets-government-who’s who, otherwise known as the White House Correspondent’s Dinner.

What’s unique above, besides Leno’s buffoonish expression, is how Michelle Obama’s head is completely obscured by the comedian’s back when the First Lady, by way of her hugs for scholarship students, was the evening’s only class act.

And then, it seems no accident so many celebrity/guest portraits seemed more garish, or discomforting, than anything else.

Bloomberg for Getty

This Murdoch portrait almost seems a parody of itself.

Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

This shot featuring actor Dennis Quaid, the way it’s loaded with distractability, seemed fitting for the way it speaks to “being there to be seen.”

(Previous BAG WHCD coverage.)

(Revised: 5/2/10. 3pm PST)

( White House Correspondents’ Association fundraising dinner, at the Washington Hilton Hotel, Saturday, May 1, 2010, in Washington.)

  • DennisQ

    How many of the White House correspondents are personally affected by the things they write about? Will any of them be stopped for identification by the cops in Arizona? Does the mortgage crisis affect them? Will any of them lose sleep worrying about the giant oil spill?

    The answer is a classic moral hazard situation. None of these people have a personal stake in the common experience of ordinary Americans. If anything, the more bad stuff happens, the less the White House Correspondents have to work at digging up actual news.

    There are a couple of media reforms I’d like to see implemented. These so-called “journalists” pat themselves on the back for the serious work that they do, but few of them challenge phony “news” outfits like Fox News. Anybody who wears makeup and can read a script is a journalist these days.

    I’d also like to see an end to phony “balance” in reporting. There aren’t two sides to issues like global warming. There’s science and there’s nonsense. Real journalists should report the truth, not cater to pressure groups with a stake in promoting falsity.

    • Gasho

      Excellent comment.

  • Books Alive

    In Dennis Quaid’s defense, although he appears distracted, he may be speaking with Wolf Blitzer and Ed Henry of CNN, sharing news of his patient safety campaign. His recent National Press Club appearance is archived at C-Span. I had never heard the story of how his wife sensed the impending danger to their hospitalized twins until I watched this event. The Quaids formed a foundation which is now merged with the work being done at the Texas Medical Institute of Technology (TMIT) to develop and expand technological improvements that will prevent the type of error that threatened their children.

  • NoContest

    Decadent.

    I have never lost a good opinion of anyone faster than Baaaarack BushBama. He fell into the mold made by Bush and Clinton as effortlessly as I slip into my running shoes.

    So, who is our next Great Hope?

Refresh Archives

Random Notes