Last year, the Trump White House manufactured controversy over Michelle Wolf’s performance at the Correspondents’ Dinner, causing the Correspondents’ Association to say no to a comedian hosting the event — here’s why former White House staffer David Litt says that’s a mistake.
“We have had a comedian at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner for decades straight,” he explained. “Every year, people made fun of Obama.”
And though comedians have poked fun at presidents in the past, administrations never manufactured outrage for no reason, because it’s just a joke.
“What’s the big deal? If you have such a thin skin, you should not be president,” Litt said. “And more important, there’s something fundamentally democratic about having someone stand up in front of the leader of the free world and make fun of them a little bit.”
Litt says the Correspondents’ Dinner is sort of a reminder that in a democracy we don’t just talk about free speech, we exercise it.
“This year the headliner, instead of a comedian, is gonna be historian Ron Chernow,” he said. “I don’t know the message the Correspondents’ Association was hoping to send, but I do know the message they sent. The message is: If you manufacture a fake controversy, some of your attacks on freedom of speech and, by association, freedom of the press, will succeed.”