White House Correspondents' Dinner is still on, WHCA says

Posted at 2:18 PM, Feb 02, 2017

Yes, there will be a White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Despite doubts that the media's annual black-tie gala would take place in the Donald Trump era, the White House Correspondents' Association announced Thursday that festivities will proceed as usual.

"We've received some queries about the 2017 White House Correspondents' Dinner, which will be the first since the new administration took office," WHCA President Jeff Mason wrote to association members. "The White House Correspondents' Association will hold its annual dinner on April 29 at the Washington Hilton."

With Trump and his administration constantly bashing the media, even going so far as to describe it it as "the opposition party," some had doubted whether the WHCA intended to hold the dinner, and several journalists called on the association to cancel it.

"Please cancel the White House Correspondents Dinner," Jacob Weisberg, the editor-in-chief of the Slate Group, recently tweeted. "Unseemly spectacle, totally at odds with the press holding administration accountable."

"I swear to God, any reporter or journalist who attends this should be boycotted," Reza Aslan, the author and television host, tweeted in response to Thursday's announcement.

Samantha Bee, the comedian and late-show host, has already announced plans to counter-program the dinner with a "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner" gala. Proceeds will benefit the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In his statement, Mason stressed the WHCA's intention to use the dinner as a celebration of a free and independent press.

"This year, as we do every year, we will celebrate the First Amendment and the role an independent press plays in a healthy republic," he wrote. "We will also reward some of the finest political reporting of the past year while using our scholarship program to highlight and support up-and-coming journalists who are the future of our profession."

"In the meantime, the WHCA will pursue its core mission of advocating for journalists' ability to ask questions of government officials, push for transparency from the presidency, and help Americans hold the powerful to account," he continued. "This is a responsibility that we have taken seriously for more than 100 years and will continue to uphold."