The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

This year’s White House correspondents’ dinner might be low on glitz. But Woodward and Bernstein are speaking.

Reporters Bob Woodward, right, and Carl Bernstein, whose reporting of the Watergate case won a Pulitzer Prize, sit in the newsroom of The Washington Post on May 7, 1973. (Associated Press)
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Still no word from the White House Correspondents’ Association on who’s headlining the group’s once star-studded annual dinner, but at least there are some recognizable names in the lineup.

Legendary Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein will be presenting journalism awards and giving brief remarks at the April 29 soiree. Is that in place of a professional jokester?

“I hope not,” Woodward tells us. He’s not prepping any jokes, either. “I think having two old guys like Carl and me will be enough comedy.” Instead, he says, their talk will focus on the evening’s themes: “the First Amendment and the importance of aggressive but fair reporting.”

The White House correspondents’ dinner typically announces the evening’s talent months earlier, but this year’s dinner is far from routine. There will be no president on the dais and no White House staff in the ballroom (President Trump snubbed the dinner, and his aides are skipping it “in solidarity”), no celebrities (few famous folk seem eager to party in Trump’s Washington) and fewer parties.

The dinner’s organizers are framing the low-glitz tone of this year’s dinner as a triumphant refocus on what the dinner was always supposed to be about. “Having Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein at the dinner exemplifies everything our event is about — celebrating the First Amendment and highlighting really good journalism,” WHCA president Jeff Mason said.

Woodward and Bernstein didn’t sound like they were big fans of the annual black-tie gathering, describing it in their 1974 book, “All the President’s Men,” as “a formal, overdone, alcohol-saturated event, attended by all those with power — or pretensions to power — in the media and government.”