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The Colbert Blackout

"It's not just that Colbert's jokes were hitting their mark. We already know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that the generals hate Rumsfeld, or that Fox News lists to the right. Those cracks are old and boring. What Colbert did was expose the whole official, patriotic, right-wing, press-bashing discourse as a sham, as more 'truthiness' than truth."

Meanwhile, over at thankyoustephencolbert.org , there are more than 20,000 thank-yous and counting.

Some Thoughts About the Dinner

For all the talk about the Bush and Colbert performances, the White House correspondents dinner is fundamentally not about the headliners, but about the scene.

Once upon a time, I imagine, there was great value in throwing a party where journalists and politicians could mingle and shmooze and celebrate the things they have in common.

And indeed, if the press and this particular White House had an even moderately functional professional relationship, then a chance to build personal relationships would be a nice bonus.

But it's not a functional professional relationship. From the president down to the freshest press office intern, this White House seems to delight in not answering even our most basic questions.

So the last thing in the world we need is a big party where the only appropriate mode of communication is sucking up.

Ideally, every chance we get to talk to these people, we should be pumping them for information. And ideally we would be consistent in expressing our frustration with them -- not for personal reasons, not for partisan reasons, but because they're making it nearly impossible for us to do our job, which is to inform the public on what's going on in the White House and why.

The coziness of the dinner is a perfect example of what's gone wrong with access journalism. What's in it for the readers?

Al Eisele , Editor-at-Large of The Hill, writes in Huffingtonpost.com: "The White House Correspondents Association's annual dinner, which I just attended, should go the way of the Linotype, the teletype and the typewriter.

"If ever there was anything that proves to the rest of the world that the Washington press corps is out of touch, out of synch and out to lunch, it is this awful Spring lemming-like migration of Washington journalists, politicians, lawmakers -- although to their credit they were few and far between -- lobbyists, political junkies and celebrity seekers to the Hinkley Hilton as the press kow-tows to the powers that be."

Eiesele says he's not coming back. I won't go that far. I kind of have to be there. But it's certainly a mixed bag.


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