Brokaw: White House Correspondents' Event Damaging Perception of the Press

One day after the lavish White House Correspondents' Dinner was held in Washington, D.C., former "NBC Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw stated that the annual event is diminishing the reputation of the journalists who attend it.

The longtime newsman made the remark to host David Gregory while appearing as a guest on "Meet the Press" the following morning, according to a column written by David Eldridge at the Washington Times on Sunday.

Brokaw also stated that the annual event, which features Washington reporters and editors drinking, joking and partying with Hollywood stars and other top officials, including the president, is contributing to the conception that journalists consider themselves part of the elite in the U.S.

Look, I think George Clooney is a great guy. I’d like to meet Charlize Theron. But I don’t think the big press event in Washington should be that kind of glittering event where the whole talk is about Cristal champagne, taking over the Italian Embassy, who had the best party, who got to meet the most people.

"If there's ever an event that separates the press from the people they're supposed to be serving, symbolically, it is that one." he added.

“I think that the Washington press corps has to look at that, and by the way, I'm a charter member of the White House Correspondents Association, I was there early on and often enjoyed it, but it's gone beyond what it needs to be,” Brokaw stated.

Fellow members of the press weighed in on Brokaw’s comments the following day.

Fox News White House Correspondent Ed Henry noted on the radio show 'Kilmeade and Friends' on Monday that the event also raises money for journalism scholarships.

I do think that there are challenges that sometimes it looks like too much like a celebrity, you know, fest, and we’ve got to make sure that that doesn’t overshadow it. But he also should acknowledge that we give a lot of money. We’re a non-profit. We give a lot of money to needy students who are the next generation of journalists. So there’s a balance there.

Film critic Richard Roeper, meanwhile, responded to Brokaw with a resounding “Amen” in a column in the Chicago Sun-Times. The dinner, he wrote, has turned into “one of the most embarrassing events of the year for journalism.”

“When the Kardashians are on the guest list, the whole thing becomes a joke,” Roeper noted.

Randy Hall
Randy Hall