The annual White House Press Correspondents’ Dinner kicked things off Saturday night with a soaring tribute to the value and integrity of the American press in the era of President Donald Trump.
Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, stood in front of a banner that read “Celebrating the First Amendment” as he delivered his opening remarks and, right off the bat, he nodded to the elephant in the room — Donald Trump’s decision not to appear at this year’s event. “We are here to celebrate good journalism,” said Mason. “We are here to celebrate the press, not the presidency.”
Mason spoke of the scrutiny press is under of later, saying, “At previous dinners, we have rightly talked about the threats to press freedoms abroad. Tonight we must recognize that there are threats to press freedoms here in the United States. We must remain vigilant. The world is watching.”