April 30, 2018

This is the worst sort of lame damage control from the White House Correspondents Association. They should just defend their decision to hire Michelle Wolf for the dinner and move on.

Instead we were treated to this hand-wringing by WHCA president Margaret Talev on CNN's Reliable Sources yesterday, and this statement they posted on Twitter:

Here's Tarlev's response when host Brian Stelter asked her if she had any regrets about hiring Wolf:

TALEV: Brian, I'll tell you this. First of all, it was a great honor to be able to preside over last night's dinner and to represent all of the journalists who cover the produce and we were really appreciative to have so many administration officials in the audience, including Sarah Sanders at the head table last night.


TALEV: My aim and the way I sought to put together the program was to build a spirit of unity in that room, to rally around journalism and why it's important. And I worked really hard to do that with my own speech, and with the selection of guests who sang and the woman to my side, an Egyptian-American woman, who was rescued by President Trump and is an advocate for press freedom.

My only regret is that to some extent, those 15 minutes are now defining four hours of what was a really wonderful, unifying night. And I don't want the cause of unity to be undercut.

STELTER: You're saying the celebration of the First Amendment was overshadowed by Wolf's raunchy jokes.

TALEV: Well, I mean, to some extent -- look, the comedian -- when the entertainer is a comedian and as has been the case for most of the last 30 years or so, they are often controversial. They are often, you know, to some extent, polarizing or at least provocative.

STELTER: Yes, definitely.

TALEV: And it's a night about free speech. So by tradition, we do not vet their monologue. We don't censor it, we don't even see it. In fact, I --

STELTER: So, you don't see the jokes beforehand, that's interesting.

TALEV: No, we don't. I did sneak down to the rehearsal and walk- through, just in case, but she wouldn't give anything up. So --

STELTER: Do you think she crossed a line?

TALEV: I think she brought to the night what she thought was important to say and that her goal may not have been press unity and everyone rallying around the room to support journalism. But, look, I invited her. And I invited her because I thought that she's a talented comedian who had a message to deliver and she did deliver a message. I delivered a message, too.


TALEV: My message is the one that I hope represents the press corps and certainly represents me. It was about my own personal experiences, my family experiences. Why I believe the journalism is so important.

Kevin M. Kruse had the perfect response to Talev and her organization's statement:

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