The White House Correspondents dinner, aka “the nerd prom,” may be in trouble. The New York Times reports that both Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, two Conde Nast publications, have pulled out of their annual parties. VF editor in chief Graydon Carter, no fan of Donald Trump, says he’s going fishing that weekend.
The White House Correspondents Association announced on Twitter a couple of days they were going ahead with the dinner. But I’m not sure that’s such a good idea given that no one is laughing, no one wants Trump at the dinner, and the result of a broadcast in which a comedian host just rags on Trump could really backfire on the journalism community.
There’s also a question of what the WHCA really is. According to their Form 990 filing for 2015, the not for profit group had $330,000 in expenses in 2015. Nearly half of that money–about $145,000– went to their president, Julia Whitson, in salary. Only $86,550 went to grants to individuals like journalism students. Indeed gifts, grants and other monies received have declined sharply from $293,189 in 2010 to $63,420 in 2014. They claim total net assets of $602,550 for 2015.
Of course, a lot of people point to the 2011 dinner, hosted by Seth Meyers, as the moment Trump decided to run for President. Meyers and President Obama were merciless to Trump, who did not take the ribbing well at all. Maybe this year it would be best to have a smaller, non roast dinner, with fewer celebrities and no mention of the current President.