Leave it to a farm boy from the Midwest to speak the truth about the annual White House Correspondents Dinner.
Tom Brokaw is no longer a fan.
"If there’s ever an event that separates the press from the people they’re supposed to be serving, symbolically, it is that one," he said Sunday on “Meet the Press.”
Brokaw believes the black tie affair where DC reporters and editors drink, eat and party with Hollywood celebrities is damaging the perception of the press among the American public. No kidding.
Does the Washington journalism establishment really believe their credibility is enhanced by importing the likes of Kim Kardashian, Reese Witherspoon and Charlize Theron for a high profile evening of champagne and photo ops?
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel made note of it: “Here in this room we have members of the media, politicians, corporate executives, lobbyists, and celebrities. Everything that is wrong with America is in this room tonight.”
For Brokaw it is all too much.
"That’s another separation between what we’re supposed to be doing and what the people expect us to be doing, and I think that the Washington press corps has to look at that, and by the way I’m a charter member of the White House Correspondents Association. I was there early on and often enjoyed it, but it’s gone beyond what it needs to be.”
Unfortunately, to do that would require an ego check -- and that’s about as likely in Washington as it is in Hollywood.
Most in my business routinely belittle the audience of Fox News (which routinely has more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined) as being right-wing ideologues in desperate need of validation. Brokaw’s caution relates to another reason: arrogance.
I suspect many at that correspondent’s dinner see themselves as the high priests and priestesses of an elite class mingling with the equally successful in parrallel occupations.
These are the same folks who roll their eyes when someone refers to the Internet as the "democratization of the media."
C-Span is full of panel discussions on why the public is turning to the alternative press and the world wide web for news and information. Nobody ever mentions the disconnect that Brokaw refers to between viewers and the 1-percenters on television.
Hanging out with celebs is exactly the kind of intoxicating experience White House journalists should avoid -- and that includes Fox News.