Former “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw said Sunday that the glitzy annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is damaging the perception of the press among the American public.
“It’s time to rethink that,” the longtime newsman said Sunday in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
He said the annual black-tie affair, which features Washington reporters and editors drinking, joking and partying with Hollywood stars and the city’s top lawmakers — including the president — is contributing to the public’s mistrust of the media.
“If there’s ever an event that separates the press from the people they’re supposed to be serving, symbolically, it is that one.” he said.
“That’s another separation between what we’re supposed to be doing and what the people expect us to be doing, and I think that the Washington press corps has to look at that, and by the way I’m a charter member of the White House Correspondents Association, I was there early on and often enjoyed it, but it’s gone beyond what it needs to be.”
I disagree with him on one point. It’s not a symbolic separation, it’s a real one. Americans see themselves as set apart from the elite in the government and in the press. There is no connection anymore and they feel (rightly so) that none of them understand the problems or situations of the average American. I think the America people believe (and rightly so) that the media is trying to dictate to them who they should vote for and what programs to support. And when they see the fawning media at functions like the press corps dinner, they are turned off and distrustful of everything they read or hear from them – and rightly so.