Toasted journalism, roasted Trump: It’s what’s for dinner

May 12, 2017

“Great piece. That's exactly what it felt like,” says Philip Crowther. In The New York Times, Michael M. Grynbaum writes, of Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, For Journalists, Annual Dinner Serves Up Catharsis and Resolve. As the Times tweeted, “Bob Woodward articulated the subtext of the evening: ‘Mr. President, the media is not fake news.’” And referring to the declaration (delivered “with sermonlike ferocity”) by Reuters’ Jeff Mason, president of the Correspondents’ Association, Talya Minsberg says, “The fact that journalist @jeffmason1 even has to say ‘we are not the enemy of the American people’ remains baffling.” For more on the dinner, CNN’s Eugene Scott rounds up 10 memorable lines from comedian Hasan Minhaj at the WHCA dinner (26,000+ shares), and at The Washington Post, Abby Ohlheiser and Emily Yahr write of A different sort of White House Correspondents’ dinner.

And for a completely different sort of dinner, Samantha Bee’s Not the White House Correspondents Dinner Serves Trump Roast, as Greg Evans reports in Deadline. In his piece for The New York Times, At Samantha Bee’s ‘White House’ Dinner, Journalism Is Toasted as Trump Is Mocked, Sopan Deb writes, “Forget alternative facts — Samantha Bee is pioneering the alternative dinner.”

Meanwhile, Landler reports that Trump Savages News Media at Rally to Mark His 100th Day. Says Ray Locker, “Trump criticizes news organizations at rally but can't resist inviting them for exclusive interviews,” adding, “In at least two interviews with reporters last week, Trump showed them maps of election results.” Landler tweets, “Trump's aides hoped to make news at rally during the WHCA dinner to torment the press. Trump blew up those plans.” And The New York Times emphasizes this point, via Twitter, “The New York Times did not apologize for its election coverage.”

This could be a two-man play

It wouldn’t be Monday without another full transcript of a President Trump interview. This time it’s Trump's interview with CBS News’ John Dickerson on "Face the Nation," which Brian Stelter tweets is “A must-read transcript.” Says Kevin Quealy, “This could be a two-man play.” And Mary Milliken says, “Worth reading through the @FaceTheNation interview transcript with #Trump. Cliff notes: media and Congress to blame.” Or as Marina Fang puts it, “Another day, another Trump word salad interview.” But here’s something you won’t find in the transcript: At The New York Times Glenn Thrush reports, Trump Abruptly Ends Interview After Wiretap Question, writing, “President Trump cut short an interview with the host of ‘Face the Nation’ on CBS after being asked about his unsubstantiated claim that President Barack Obama wiretapped his campaign, saying he was entitled to his own ‘opinions.’”

That takes stamina!

By now, you’ve probably heard that, as Mark Landler reported in The New York Times, Trump has invited Rodrigo Duterte to the White House (27,000+ shares). Noga Tarnopolsky offers this alternate headline: “Mass murderer Duterte to dine at White House.” The authoritarian leader of the Philippines is accused of ordering extrajudicial killings of drug suspects and once called Obama a “son of a whore,” but Landler writes that “Mr. Trump had a ‘very friendly conversation with Mr. Duterte,’ according to a statement issued by the White House late Saturday.” Surprised? You’re not alone. As Landler also reports, Trump’s ‘Very Friendly’ Talk With Duterte Stuns Aides and Critics Alike (31,000+ shares). Nina Bernstein tweets some additional context: “Trump invites Duterte, a murderer, to WH. Why? Start with a $150 million, 57-floor tower in Manila called Trump.” And Dan Murphy notes, “Trump could come across a man with a bloody knife standing over a pile of corpses and say ‘that takes stamina!’” Says Daniel Drezner, “I remember a time when people were writing about an Axis of Adults reining in Trump. Good times…” Meanwhile, Brandon Carter of The Hill is also reporting that Trump did not clear Duterte invitation with State Department.

A roomful of Jonahs from “Veep”

“Some brutal leaking in this piece,” says Jonathan Swan. In Trump starts dismantling his shadow Cabinet, Michael Grunwald, Andrew Restuccia and Josh Dawsey of POLITICO write that many of the “White House-installed chaperones” who have been serving as the president’s eyes and ears at federal agencies are being reassigned or eased out. The move comes as cabinet secretaries have expressed frustration with the advisers, many of whom have little experience in government. While senior Treasury Department officials say Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin assigned his “minder” to the basement, the sickest burn would have to be this comment: “It’s like a roomful of Jonahs from ‘Veep,’” one administration official said.

Aspiring Bond villain: out

Also on his way out of the White House: Sebastian Gorka, as reported by CNN’s Jim Acosta and Eric Bradner in their piece, Sources: Sebastian Gorka to leave White House, and Sarah Westwood of The Washington Examiner in Sebastian Gorka to accept role outside White House. Also kind of a sick burn? This, from Westwood’s piece: “The source said Gorka's only known duties included speaking on television about counterterrorism, as well as ‘giving White House tours and peeling out in his Mustang,’ but added that he had few notable responsibilities.” As Gregg Carlstrom puts it, “CNN: White House aide and aspiring Bond villain @SebGorka will leave his job soon; ‘creates too much controversy.’” Tweets Josh Rogin, “Hey, he lasted four times as long as Flynn.”

U.S. government to stay open for a few more months

As we learned last night, a bipartisan deal was reached to keep the government funded through September, as reported by NBC News’ Leigh Ann Caldwell, Kasie Hunt, Frank V in Deal on Government Funding Reached, Averting Shutdown. Of the tentative deal on a $1.1 trillion spending bill, Billy House, Erik Wasson and Laura Litvan of Bloomberg report, Congress Inks Spending Deal That Jettisons Trump Priorities, and Thomas Kaplan and Matt Flegenheimer file the report in The New York Times, Bipartisan Agreement Reached to Fund Government Through September. As Lev Facher highlights in STAT, within that deal, NIH to get a $2 billion funding boost as Congress rebuffs Trump.

Scary op-eds

In Who’s Afraid of Bret Stephens? “The great @jackshafer weighs in on l’affaire Bret Stephens,” tweets Blake Hounshell. POLITICO’s Jack Shafer writes, “What’s that howling ricocheting through the liberal precincts? It’s only New York Times readers and writers greeting the arrival of neoconservative pundit Bret Stephens to the newspaper’s op-ed page as if he’s Slenderman coming to murder their children.” Says Jared Newman, it’s “Shafer at his best.”

But “if folks are mad at nyt for new op-ed columnist, WaPo really in trouble,” says Robert Barnes. Adds Ruth Marcus, “This is not a byline you see on the oped page everyday!” referring to The Washington Post op-ed by none other than Donald J. Trump, President Trump: In my first 100 days, I kept my promise to Americans. Says Max Slater-Robins, “The Washington Post needs to annotate this asap.” Many couldn’t help but note, as Adam Causey did, “Trump criticizes ‘establishment media’ in @washingtonpost opinion piece.”


“Seacrest's ascension into the modern era Dick Clark is now truly complete,” says Christina Warren, of the official word from CNNMoney’s Chloe Melas and Brian Stelter this morning that Ryan Seacrest is Kelly Ripa's new co-host on 'Live.' Matt Wells notes this curious tidbit: “‘The Friday episode of "Live" is usually taped,'” while Lisa Tozzi simply “::Shakes fist at sky:: Seacrest!”

Making the rounds on Monday:

About the author

Nashville-based writer, marketing communications consultant, and all-around word nerd. Usually covered in dog and/or cat hair.

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