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Tonight’s White House Correspondents Dinner

by Keith Koffler on April 30, 2011, 11:38 am

Tonight is the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner and yes, I’m going.

The dinner is in some ways antithetical to what journalism is all about. We’re supposed to be outsiders, skeptics – loners on a lonely, poorly paid mission to uncover truth and hold power accountable.

That’s mostly what I am.

And that’s mostly what this dinner is not. It’s all about being a part of the in crowd, nibbling hors d’oeuvres with power and celebrity, and being part of the scene. It’s about getting your hair done, being noticed in a great dress, and suiting up in an expensive tuxedo.

Tickets cost $250, though most of it goes to expenses and charity.

It’s also about business. Publications gobble up tables of tickets and then gift them to advertisers and other people they want to make happy. Reporters often take sources.

Don’t cry for journalism when publications can shell out cash at these prices for a party.

Even at $250 a plate, demand exceeds supply. People are turned away.

The competition to obtain as many tables as possible is ferocious. Journalists and their bosses turn weepy or furious, begging or fulminating that organizers give them enough seats to befit their grandiose perception of their status in the press world.

Every year, the organizers lose a few decibals of hearing listening to puny, outraged journalists.

The event now includes several exclusive “after” and “before” parties, where Hollywood and media stars abide. Journalists subtly brag about which ones they get invited to.

“Oh, the Vanity Fair party was so much fun! Did you go this year?”

So why am I going to the dinner?

Keith Koffler and George Clooney

George Clooney is forced to listen to Koffler

I admit, I love it. It’s interesting to me to see Hollywood stars hanging out and to talk to them. I once had an nice discussion with George Clooney, who calmly chatted with me while ignoring the pile of people accumulating around us hoping for a chance to slobber on him.

I bumped into former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and told him I had just refinanced and thanked him for my low rate. He didn’t think it was funny, and his wife Andrea Mitchell shot him a look like “come on honey, that was a pretty good one.”

It’s a circus, a spectacle to behold. Henry Kissinger ambles around. You turn around, and there’s MC Hammer. Donald Trump will be holding forth this year. You just never know what’s next.

It’s also invaluable from a business sense. Put bluntly, I can meet people who will help me advance this blog. Not monetarily – I don’t have investors. But people who can help it gain recognition, who can link to me or put me on TV. I need to be at this thing.

I will take pictures, and give you a report.

Let me know what you think.

{ 22 comments }

Star April 30, 2011 at 11:55 am

I think this made me a little ill–but hey, we’ll still speak to ya. I do loathe reading about those slobberfests… Wrong, wrong, wrong.

srdem65 April 30, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Us yokels in fly-over country will be watching reruns of Law&Order tonight.
We’ll take notes and clue you in on the clever plots.

Seriously, go and have some fun.

Susan April 30, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Wow, who are the organizers for this shindig? They sure do wield a lot of power in Tinseltown on the Potomac. Always felt a sense of distrust for the journalists and politicians who attend these functions, and wonder who or what they sold out to get the invite. Good to know there will be at least one honest reporter there who will tell it like it is. Have fun and don’t let them kick you out for using your flip cam!

Shofar April 30, 2011 at 12:44 pm

It will be interesting to see what kind of lovefest Seth Myers does when he speaks. Too often the “entertainment” at this thing has been either over the top for viciousness (Colbert in ’06) or a giant suck up (Sykes).

Enjoy the night.

Star April 30, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I don’t know who Seth Myers is. Probably for the best.

scullman April 30, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Have a great time and bring back some good stuff. Maybe the comedic “talent” will actually go after Himself tonight?

Nah. He’s just too damn precious for this crowd.

MaryOhSoContrary April 30, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Keith…I don’t know who will join you at you table…just a fun (and safe!) ‘drinking game’ for the night. Do a ‘shot’ everytime either Myer (or any one) does an “Obama” joke. I guarantee, you and your table mates will all leave stone, cold sober.

Have a great evening, and your faithful readers here look forward to the ‘dish’ tomorrow…

Charles Curran April 30, 2011 at 2:13 pm

I wonder if the SFC will have a table? Maybe take some pictures?

Megan April 30, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I think it’s awesome that you’re going – sounds like an opportunity that would be hard to pass up, and a good professional opportunity for you. I do agree that it seems weird that the people most expected to maintain some sort of skeptical objectivity fall all over thelmselves to be part of this, but you’ve always seemed to seperate yourself from the others in that way. Plus, I’m a sucker for good gossip, so I look forward to hearing your stories – enjoy the evening!!

Boo April 30, 2011 at 6:17 pm

I remember the dinner several years ago when Bill Clinton was joking about his recent weight loss. He was wondering where the pounds had gone and speculated that they had wound up on Tim Russert – who was pretty chunky at the time but laughed like the good sport he was (I miss him). Now I am wondering about Obama’s recent weight loss…….Where did the pounds go???? A clue perhaps – check out MOTUS today on Moochelle crashing the royal wedding – hilarious

Mrs Compton April 30, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Someones gotta take one for the team, have a good time tonight Keith.

qestout April 30, 2011 at 8:19 pm

I tried to watch a live feed. The Donald was on the red carpet being interviewed with David Arquette behind Malania (?) All of the sound sounded like chaos…Then my computer overheated, shut down and I took it as a sign to stop watching. lol, at least my computer came back to life. Have fun :)

Star May 1, 2011 at 10:44 am

I was surfing around and came to the milling around portion on CPSAN and just could not do it. Could not make myself. I read the coverage and all I can say is they need better writers. Biggie and Tupac? No Things Considered? Weak-ass.

Granny Jan April 30, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Who is the female weight lifter with the President?
http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/052R9mR6I9coS/x610.jpg

Dennis May 1, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Looks like a bad tranny do-over to me.

Miranda May 1, 2011 at 1:00 am

We can forgive you for this one Keith. At least you’re honest with us – unlike the self-righteous dishonest elitist JournoListas at Politico. I remember seeing countless stories on Politico last year (couldn’t even bother to look this time – too nauseating) – like 75, literally – luncheons and pre-parties and after-parties …. disgusting. And insufferable brainless celebrities like Sean Penn get invited. Ugh.

Just please tell us you’re not going to the Biden Beach Party this year. I know they’ll have slip-n-slides & water guns …. but you’re no Ezra Klein. We’d really lose respect for you if we find out you’re going …. ;>)

Star May 1, 2011 at 10:46 am

Yeah, don’t make us stop this car…

Keith Koffler May 1, 2011 at 11:50 am

Thanks Miranda. No Biden party. I agree, that was the most degrading one of all. They’d never invite me anyway.

Star May 1, 2011 at 11:51 am

So tell all, Keith–hobbing with the nobs…how was it?

William May 1, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Hope you had a great time. Once, when I was stationed at Fort Drum, I was invited to a political soiree like that. I had a really great conversation with some NY state pol about 2nd Amendment rights. He claimed that even James Madison was against the 2nd and therefore that there was no right to own a firearm. I pointed out that Madison was against the entire bill of rights because he was afraid it would lead to people believing their rights came from government rather than government deriving its powers from the people. He didn’t much like that.

Langley barfly May 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Isnt this how Rome “went to hell”? (re: Republic-Empire-Collapse…)

Elitism, Oppurtunity, Wealth & Luxury became the goals of the ‘Ruling Class’ Elites (Politicans, Sycophants, Supporters & Media)…

They just began to mock the “Citizens”…and the “Elites” just had NO CLUE about the rest of “The Republic” (weak leaders, moral decay, foreign wars, more weak leaders, economic collapse, foreign immigration…)

YET! Rome (re: Washington DC keeps partying!)

William May 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm

At least the Romans got bread with their circuses.