- The Washington Times - Friday, May 2, 2014


Here it comes, folks. The glittering annual spring rite for journalists and politicians is upon the nation’s capital. It’s big, and it’s bodacious.

Consider the math of the White House Correspondents Dinner: there are about 200 authentic White House correspondents who belong to the White House Correspondents Association, an august group founded 100 years ago. But 3,000 people will show up Saturday night for the dinner itself. Yes, there is a cast of thousands. They are done up in tuxedos, evening gowns and uncomfortable footwear — poised to ride escalators, murmur and shout, shuffle through security barriers and ultimately dine with President Obama.

Well, sort of. The diners mostly view him on the blazing jumbotron. Meanwhile, the big doings are so big that both C-SPAN and CNN will cover it live, while entertainment networks scrum at the red carpeted entrance point.

The throng will tuck into a salad gussied up with poached pears, blue cheese and candied pecans.There’s a filet of beef, crab cakes, seasonal vegetables and desserts that include chocolate dipped strawberries, mousse lollipops and a chocolate pyramid with peanut cocoa butter glaze.

The event itself includes pomp, circumstance, clever banter and regal moments serenaded by the dull roar of the crowd. The dinner has erroneously been deemed the “Nerd Prom” in past years, implying that journalists devolve into gawking drunks when celebrities and cleavage are around. This is not accurate.

The dinner is cheerful and elegant despite its gargantuan size. It is a unique melange of politicians, celebrities, newsmakers, thought leaders, lobbyists, tycoons, failures, activists, operatives, eager newcomers, jaded veterans. Most importantly comes this statement from the sponsoring association, as a reminder to what the hubbub is really all about:

“Proceeds from the White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner go toward scholarships and awards that recognize aspiring and accomplished journalists.”

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