WASHINGTON — The Washington publication the Hill said that it will not participate in future White House Correspondents Association dinners unless “major reforms” are made.
The decision to drop out came in the aftermath of Michelle Wolf’s controversial, at-times profane monologue, in which she attacked not just President Donald Trump but administration officials who were in the ballroom, including Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway.
James Finkelstein, the chairman of the Hill, said in a letter to the WHCA that Wolf’s jokes “were out of line for an event that is supposed to be fun — and fair.”
“Based on what Americans witnessed on national television at Saturday night’s dinner, a once-fine evening celebrating the strong, free press the WHCA speaks of has turned into an angry display and ad-hominem attacks.”
Other journalists also criticized Wolf’s remarks in the immediate aftermath of the dinner, including Andrea Mitchell of NBC News, who tweeted that Sanders was owed an apology. The New York Times reported that CBS News considered dropping out of the dinner until it was given assurances that changes would be made.
On Sunday night, the president of the WHCA, Margaret Talev, issued a statement to members, saying that she had “heard from members expressing dismay with the entertainer’s monologue and concerns about how it reflects on our mission.
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“Olivier Knox, who will take over this summer as our president, and I, recognize these concerns and are committed to hearing from members on your views on the format of the dinner going forward. Last night’s program was meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility, great reporting and scholarship winners, not to divide people. Unfortunately, the entertainer’s monologue was not in the spirit of that mission.”
The Hill’s Finkelstein said that they will donate in the future to the WHCA’s scholarship program.