The White House Correspondents’ Association is having to deal with a lot right now. It appears its members have opted to avoid adding “controversies surrounding White House Correspondents’ Dinner speakers” to that list.
The WHCA announced on Monday that next April’s dinner will veer away from traditional comedic speakers of past years, such as Stephen Colbert, Hasan Minhaj and Michelle Wolf, and instead turn to noted biographer Ron Chernow.
The annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner began as an industry gathering for journalists to honor those within the profession that have made significant sacrifices, exhibited exceptional judgment, or helped the next generation of writers realize their potential. In recent years, it’s devolved into a night of media hype, with a growing list of invitees that have little to nothing to do with ongoing reporting.
It’s also become a yearly vehicle for an up-and-coming comedian to prove her/himself to the popular people in the room and a viewing audience at home. It’s hard not to see this decision as a reaction to the flurry of headlines surrounding last year’s host Michelle Wolf’s fiery performance. Targeting not only the President and various White House officials, Wolf’s searing jokes were also directed at the WHCA itself.
“I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you…He’s helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster, and now you’re profiting off of him,” Wolf said.
Chernow’s many works include biographies on John D. Rockefeller, Ulysses S. Grant, and George Washington, the last of which earned him a Pulitzer Prize in 2011. He also wrote an Alexander Hamilton biography, so pencil in at least a few tepid “throwing away my shot” references to offset everyone’s expectations.
Read the full WHCA statement below:
— WHCA (@whca) November 19, 2018