April 3, 2014 marked the annual event of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (WHCD). This event brings together the President and media from all over the country. The goal of this prestigious (tongue in cheek) event is to demean each other while hiding behind what is suppose to pass as humor. In addition to the presence of politicians, the event hosts a great gaggle of ‘stars’ from Hollywood. So what we wind-up with is a big tent housing a great throng of Washington, Hollywood, and media elites gathered together to demean each other while feigning humor.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with the wealthy 1% coming together for a night of ‘fun’ and insults — but is it necessary to subject the rest of us to their brand of ‘fun’? I mean — seriously. In poll after poll, Americans are finding nothing funny about the media or government. Although comedy is within the purview of Hollywood, is what they make fun of during this event truly comedic material?
According to a 2012 Gallop poll, 60 percent of Americans have a smidgen to no trust in the mainstream media (MSM) to report the news. Americans believe the MSM is unfair, withholds information, and strays from the facts.
A Breitbart News/Judicial Watch poll supports the Gallop poll results. It also reveals the extent to which the public has lost trust in the media. This survey found that 7 out of 10 adults do not trust the media to give the facts about the new healthcare law and slightly over one-half of them strongly hold this belief. In other words, Americans accuse the media of being liars! (See both poll results here and here)
During his WHCD speech, President Obama got in a few zingers against MSNBC for poor viewer ratings, CNN for over-zealous coverage of the Malaysian jet disappearance, and of course, FOX news, who incidentally is rated number 1 as the most trusted news network (‘nuff said). The reactions he got definitely fell within the ‘oooh, oh no he dit’en, head-snapping category rather than the good-natured laughing reaction he probably sought.
Bias in the mass media has become more flagrant and American resistance to it has become stronger since 2008. It is encouraging that most people are getting wise to biased reporting and doing their own research. The media is finding that more times than not, they are now being ‘fact-checked’ by ordinary people.
Although Hollywood does not have the same level of distrust as the media by the people, there are signs that Americans are becoming cautious about tinsel town’s political and social influence. The president’s on-again/off-again love affair with Hollywood is no secret. Even without an official count of the number of TV show appearances he has made, most people think it is more than those past U.S. Presidents count. The first lady seems to enjoy the lights of tinsel-town as much as her husband does.
There is a poll correlation between religious pollsters, who think that Hollywood has too much of a negative influence, versus the nonreligious, who either have no opinion or would like to see the influence on society increase. Nevertheless, a CBS poll found that sixty-one percent of Americans polled believe Hollywood has “too much influence on American politics and social values”. Republicans and Independents made up the majority who believe there is too much influence, with only 48% Democrats agreeing. See CBS article here.
The president’s and other politicians’ rubbing elbows with two industries looked upon with mistrust by the American people should be a strong indicator that events like the 1% White House Correspondents’ Dinner, at the most, needs to cease, or at the least, not be televised to the 99% and below. Not to mention that it raises eyebrows and questions about the potential for political deals to be signed, sealed, and delivered under that very rich tent, thereby bypassing the very rudimentary details of legislative and congressional political process.
Finally looking at the last of the three tent attendees (government) at the prestigious ‘Nerd ball”; polls all over the country show the president’s approval ratings ‘in the tank’. A current Rasmussen poll has President Obama’s approval rating at 47%, up from 41% just last week. Real Clear Politics has him rated at 43.8% from 4/11 – 5/4/2014.
An April 2014 Gallop poll shows Congressional approval ratings at its lowest and dropping since March. An article in the Washington Post clearly explains how congressional Democrats in the U.S. Senate are in danger of losing control of the Senate to the Republicans because of American’s dissatisfaction with Democratic performance, particularly in reference to the ACA, (informally called Obamacare).
With these kinds of poll numbers, the president had the presidential gall in his ‘funny’ speech, to place the blame for problems in Washington on Congressional Republicans. He thought it perfectly okay to use such a forum to call-out Republicans as the culprits to the gridlock in Congress – not funny Mr. President and not true. Congress, in its entirety is currently one big and continuous boondoggle on what appears to be ‘everything’. The people see all the dirt and plan to do some heavy-duty cleaning in upcoming elections.
Americans expect their government leaders to act ‘in one accord’ for the good of our country. American’s understand that ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand’ which is why many plan to vote out those who are not doing their job in Congress and to vote in those who will. With these kinds of poll numbers, it is a good thing the president is not seeking another term.
The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is an opportunity for the American people to see what the so-called ‘elites’, the ‘one-percenters’ view as funny. What was apparent is that the humor is most often at our expense. Perhaps now is the time to reevaluate the wisdom of such unions and private events.
Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the most mistrusted of all?