WHCA president Ed Henry pushes back against Brokaw's criticism of Correspondents Dinner

Mediaite | Quote and Comment | Fishbowl DC | Politico

Ed Henry, Fox News' chief White House correspondent, has responded to Tom Brokaw's criticism of the White House Correspondents Dinner by pointing out that the dinner raised over $100,000 for journalism students. (It was actually about $132,000.) Brokaw told Chuck Todd and David Gregory on Sunday's "Meet the Press" that the glitzy, celebrity-laden event symbolizes the disconnect between the press and the public and that "it is time to rethink it."

Henry, who as president of the Correspondents Association will oversee next year's dinner, did say that "sometimes [the event] looks too much like a celebrity-fest and we've got to make sure that doesn't overshadow it."

Jay Rosen noted that neither Todd nor Gregory had much to say in response to Brokaw:

Gregory’s only audible response to his senior colleague was: “point taken.” Todd said nothing. Then it was on to the next thing. Gregory had a perfect chance to reflect on Brokaw’s criticisms in a small web-only feature he does after the show; he declined to do so. But he did find time to plug his interview with Robert DiNiro [sic].

Rosen tweeted on Sunday that he hadn't seen any tweets from Gregory, Todd or "Meet the Press" Executive Producer Betsy Fischer responding to Brokaw; I haven't seen any since.

A few folks have seconded Brokaw's view, as FishbowlDC's Peter Ogburn notes. Props to FishbowlDC, by the way, for its SEO-laden URL: "tom-brokaw-blasts-nerd-prom-kim-kardashian-lindsay-lohan." (Brokaw didn't mention either of them.)

Greta Van Susteren joined the discussion on Monday, saying she'd consider not bringing celebrities to the dinner if it meant that the media would pay more attention to issues such as the genocide in Sudan. She wrote that many stories noted that she had brought Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner to the dinner, but almost no one reported on her trip to Sudan the week before.

"Imagine if we could get someone with the star power of Tom Brokaw to be more interested in the genocide going on in the Sudan than the guest list at a social event!"

Related: Rem Rieder, a longtime critic of the dinner, uses Brokaw's comment to proclaim again "Death to Nerd Prom!" (AJR) | The White House News Photographers Association held its annual awards dinner on Saturday, though you probably didn't hear nearly as much buzz about it. Judging by the photos it was a pretty good time, even if George Clooney wasn't there. || Earlier: Obama, Kimmel jab the news media at White House Correspondents Dinner

  • Steve Myers

    Steve Myers was the managing editor of Poynter.org until August 2012, when he became the deputy managing editor and senior staff writer for The Lens, a nonprofit investigative news site in New Orleans.


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