The White House Correspondence Dinner is a Preview into the Biden's Re-election Campaign
An evening of celebration for government officials, press, and celebrities with PR awards and a campaign speech to a room of adoring fans.
It’s Meseidy is a reader-supported publication. Please consider becoming a paying subscriber or making a one-time or recurring donation to show your support.
The first White House Correspondents' Dinner was held in 1921 during Warren G Harding’s presidency with the intent to showcase the White House's acknowledgment of the vital role played by the media in our republic, despite occasional tensions between the press and the President. It was meant as an occasion to foster respectful and civil relations between the President and the press, even though the relationship can be contentious.
Fast forward 102 years. What was once a humble gathering of journalists and politicians has turned into a fancy gala where our country's intelligentsia now have the opportunity to get a good selfie with the President or hobnob with Hollywood celebrities. In turn, celebrities have an opportunity to appear more intelligent and important than they are by proximity to the self-described intellectual elites.
The dinner has become an opportunity for the legacy media to cozy up to those in power rather than hold them accountable. It's like they're more interested in being part of the in-crowd than doing their jobs as journalists.
The state of the legacy media is depressing, and confidence in the media is at an all-time low. Why? Because gone are the days of hard-hitting questions and in-depth investigations. The press no longer challenges a Democrat President but acts as a virtual public relations agency, supporting and protecting the President above their journalistic duties.
The White House and the press have entered an incestuous relationship where the press goes to work for the White House, and the White House has become a stepping stone to becoming commentators and hosting positions on legacy media for more influence and income.
It's a shame, really. The press has a crucial role to play in holding our leaders accountable and shining a light on the truth. But we all lose out when they prioritize fawning over the President and rubbing elbows with the rich and famous.
It's Meseidy is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
And the award goes to
One of the big events during the WHCD is the “several prestigious professional journalism awards that highlight our colleagues’ significant accomplishments in the field.”
When considering noteworthy achievements in journalism, one's mind may jump to groundbreaking stories such as Watergate, The Pentagon Papers, or the revelation of NSA spying on American citizens. However, as this is a casual dinner with the President, it is unlikely that awards for journalism that cast a critical eye on the President would be presented. Or would they?
In 2019, during Trump’s presidency, McKay Coppins of The Atlantic won the Aldo Beckman Award for Overall Excellence in White House Coverage. Coppins’ coverage included Mike Pence, Sean Spicer, Stephen Miller, and other political players and provided “complex portraits that increase our understanding of the current administration. His voice is refreshing.” Every single one of these articles was critical of the Trump White House.
Stories such as:
Sam Nunberg’s Blustering, Baffling Afternoon in the Spotlight
I may not agree with all of Coppins’ coverage of the Trump White House, but he is a journalist, so I would expect him to challenge the sitting administration and hold their feet to the fire.
But it is not surprising to see how challenges and accountability from the press fall away when a Democrat is in office. This year, the same award was awarded to Matt Viser of the Washington Post for what is essentially the best Biden PR piece disguised as “professional journalism.”
From the WHCA judges:
“Matt Viser stood out among his competitors for work that went beyond the humdrum of covering the managed events of the presidency and White House. Viser captured the spirit of Joe Biden, particularly with his stories on how the president’s brother and his Catholic faith influenced his strategic vision of the office. His sourcing on the James Biden story was unusual, plumbing emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop to illuminate the relationship of the two brothers, and winning a rare interview with James Biden. Viser’s articles on Joe Biden’s presidency also were reported with historic context, written with an easy accessible style.”
Other 2023 WHCA awards:
THE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRESIDENTIAL NEWS COVERAGE UNDER DEADLINE PRESSURE – PRINT | Jeff Mason of Reuters for covering the Biden administration’s climate initiatives with an exclusive report about a White House solar energy initiative
AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRESIDENTIAL COVERAGE UNDER DEADLINE PRESSURE – BROADCAST | Phil Mattingly of CNN for breaking the story on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s planned trip to the White House in December 2022.
THE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRESIDENTIAL NEWS COVERAGE BY VISUAL JOURNALISTS | Doug Mills of The New York Times for capturing President Biden “as he emerged from the shadows to celebrate the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.”
THE KATHARINE GRAHAM AWARD FOR COURAGE AND ACCOUNTABILITY | Josh Gerstein and Alex Ward of Politico for publishing the draft Supreme Court opinion reversing abortion rights.
Biden’s campaign speech
The highlight of the evening was Biden's speech, which essentially served as the campaign speech that he didn't deliver during his re-election announcement. If you remember, he instead announced his campaign with a brief three-minute video in which he spoke for one minute thirty seconds and appeared for a total of 5 seconds. You almost get the feeling he can’t speak coherently and engage for an extended period of time.
Of course, he made some obligatory lame jokes, which he quickly followed up with, “I’m not joking.” But to be fair, the clarification is appreciated considering we can no longer tell if we are all trapped in a timeline that is a perpetual joke or if this is reality.
During his speech, he focuses on the "extreme MAGA Republicans," which essentially is a shot at Donald Trump and all his supporters. He is banking on Trump winning the nomination and plans to campaign primarily on not being Trump.
However, he is also embracing some unpopular issues with independents, hoping they will dislike Trump more than his stance. Finally, to make sure he has all his bases covered, he is misrepresenting Republican legislation with outright lies.
He closes the speech by pointing out that “poison is running through our democracy and parts of an extreme press.” If you are wondering who the “poison” is, it’s anyone who challenges the Biden administration or doesn’t fall in line with the establishment narrative.
Toward the end of his speech, a particular sentence caught my attention. Because I believe it provides insight into his campaign platform for 2024.
“A cycle that emboldens history to be buried, books to be banned, children and families to be attacked by the state, and the rule of law and our rights and freedoms to be stripped away and where elected representatives of the people are expelled from state houses for standing for the people.”
Let's go through the sentence point by point, shall we?
“A cycle that emboldens history to be buried”
He is upset about Republicans and Conservatives pushing back on Progressives’ claims that the U.S. is inherently racist and was founded on racism and slavery as anti-racism, CRT, and the 1619 project claims.
It is also a sideswipe at Gov. DeSantis, an expected presidential challenger, who recently threatened to ban an AP course on African American studies. The College Board recently released a revised AP course on African American studies in response to criticism from concerned parents and Gov. Desantis for the course promoting extreme left-wing ideology. The updated course removed certain modules, including Black Lives Matter, queer theory, and slavery reparations. Instead, those subjects could be suggested to students for end-of-the-year projects. The Left argues that it promotes holistic thinking in African American studies, while critics claim that it serves as a mechanism for left-wing grievance studies.
Progressives will also claim that Conservatives do not want to teach about slavery, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Gov. DeSantis believes that black history is a vital part of overall US history and should be taught as such. What parents do not want to be taught is that students are inherently racist, internalize unconscious white supremacy, or that they are victims of a system built to oppress them based on immutable characteristics such as skin color.
There is another word for that…ah, yes, racism.
“books to be banned”
The focus of “book bans” is to bring images of fascism and, dare I say, Nazis to your mind.
First, let’s be clear that every book is available for purchase in the United States. No one is banning or burning books. The alleged book ban is of books that have extremely sexually explicit content and images being made available to minors. It also happens that the most explicit books are books that focus on LGBTQ content, such as Gender Queer and Lawn Boy.
Gender Queer is an illustrated book (click on link with caution) about a 14-year-old Kobabe. In the book, he fantasizes about an older man touching his penis. Another illustration depicts Kobabe's girlfriend performing oral sex on Kobabe while Kobabe wears a strap-on dildo, and it includes a depiction of masturbation.
Lawn Boy is allegedly a semi-biographical “coming of age” story where some passages include descriptions of a sexual encounter between two fourth-grade boys, that would be 10-year-olds, at a church youth-group meeting where the boys touch each other’s penis and progress to oral sex. Interestingly, the author Jonathan Evision told the Post that the book was never intended for children or to be placed in school libraries. So even the author recognizes it is not appropriate.
Finally, the “so-called” book bans in states like Utah, Texas, Missouri, and Florida are not bans at all.
Let's discuss the recently passed Florida bill, HB 1467, which is receiving a lot of attention from the Left. Suppose you've been following social media lately. In that case, you may have seen videos of teachers removing books from their classrooms or covering books that still need to be reviewed and added to a searchable list for the public with paper. This is allegedly “banning.”
Another bill that has also gotten a great deal of attention is Florida bill HB 7, also known as the Individual Freedom Act. This restricts lessons about race and racism, gender, and sexual identity and requires school librarians to review books and remove inappropriate content.
Back in March, the Duval County school district in Florida removed a book about Roberto Clemente. Why? Because in the book, the Afro-Puerto Rican baseball legend experiences racism, and the school, using a broad and overreaching interpretation of Florida’s HB 7, pulled it from library shelves for review, citing a need to comply with state laws.
What exactly does HB 7 say? That we cannot teach students that:
“An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress because of actions in which the individual played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin.”
But we can teach students about stories like Roberto Clemente's by teaching
“The history of African Americans, including the history of African peoples before the political conflicts that led to the development of slavery, the passage to America, the enslavement experience, abolition, and the history and contributions of African Americans of the African diaspora to society. Students shall develop an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping on individual freedoms and examine what it means to be a responsible and respectful person for the purpose of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions.”
In a press conference, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the state education commissioner criticized districts for overreacting and removing books like the ones about Clemente and another Major League Baseball player, Hank Aaron.
I believe this is an exaggerated response from activist teachers who want to push the narrative that DeSantis is banning books.
“children and families to be attacked by the state”
The Biden administration has made it clear that they are all in on gender ideology and what they call “gender-affirming care.” And they appear horrified that people from across the political spectrum are pushing back against the genital mutilation of minors or creating life-long medical patients of children before they are capable of full informed consent.
The fact is that the science on the possible long-term consequences of extended use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones on minors is not final. In fact, what is becoming clear is that there are many possible negative effects, such as males who are never exposed to testosterone being unable to experience sexual satisfaction or having enough genital tissue for a vaginoplasty, therefore requiring using a section of their colon, significantly increasing the possibility of complications.
There is also the sudden increasing rise of adolescent girls who, historically, a very small portion were diagnosed with gender dysphoria suddenly identifying as trans during the onset of puberty and having their healthy breasts removed.
Mind you, the Biden administration has expressed no issues with proposed legislation from states like California and Washington that would allow children to seek medical transition without the permission of their parents and allow the state to open child welfare investigations into the parents if they refuse to “affirm” the child's gender.
“the rule of law and our rights and freedoms to be stripped away”
My guess is this comment is in reference to all of the above situations, the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and Georgia’s voter laws that included new identification requirements and limits on ballot drop boxes which Democrats categorize as “Jim Crow 2.0” despite record black voter turnout during the mid-term elections.
“where elected representatives of the people are expelled from state houses for standing for the people”
He is referencing the group referred to as the "Tennessee Three," who were expelled from the legislature due to violating laws and rules.
These three state legislators have been praised as heroes for their actions, which included disrupting proceedings with a bullhorn and leading protesters into the Tennessee Capitol to demand an assault weapons ban.
It's worth noting that before this disruption, the "Tennessee Three" had voted against legislation that would have provided funding to increase security measures at public and private schools.
It's also important to remember that the last time government officials were accused of inciting individuals to break into and disrupt proceedings at a Capitol, government officials were villainized as insurrectionists. None of these individuals received an invitation to be on GMA or visit the White House like the “Tennesee Three.”
Biden ran in 2020 on wanting to unite the country but has become increasingly more divisive with every speech. He continues to villainize Conservatives and Republicans as extremists and a threat to democracy.
It’s clear that Biden’s 2024 re-election campaign strategy, other than “I’m not Trump,” will be to distract people from his lack of accomplishments by using divisive language, villainizing his opponent, and twisting the facts. The goal will be to scare voters and steer them away from the other candidate, leaving them with no choice but to vote for Biden or risk fascism and the end of our democracy.
Biden governs from a place of weakness and fear, and that never results in a positive or unifying outcome.
But it is not hopeless. It is important that we do not fall into the same trap of self-prophesied defeat or fear of speaking the truth because we will be ostracized or called names. Who cares what they call you anyway? Their accusations of racist and transphobe mean nothing when they change the definition every week.
Arm yourself with truth and facts, be calm and respectful, and when the opportunity arises, I hope that you will feel empowered to challenge false narratives. It may be uncomfortable, but another Biden term will be significantly more uncomfortable.