The Annual Versailles Cotillon

Charles Pierce:

There is no clearer example of the uselessness and essential decadence of our courtier press than the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner, which will be fouling the reputation of the craft of journalism this very weekend. Putative journalists pretend they’re Academy Award nominees while squiring around actual Academy Award nominees, many of whom can’t tell one red carpet from another, and everybody acts as though there’s seemingly nothing wrong with journalism-as-celebrity, and with journalists claiming the same sort of celebrity as the people they cover. This is a medieval papal court for whom its Luther never was born. It’s Versailles without Robespierre.

Figure on paying big time for a semi-glamorous locale; an embassy will do (but only one for a major country). Then, add in food and booze – about $100 a head. Plus entertainment, security, cleanup, insurance. Valet parking for a few hundred could cost roughly $6,000. Want a celebrity at your event? Of course you do. First-class flight to Washington, a hotel suite and limo for the weekend: Count on $4,500 or so more per glamourpuss, not including his or her posse, which you may have to include.Add it up. When all is said and paid for after all the parties surrounding the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this weekend, some media organizations will drop as much as $200,000 each to entertain an elite list of guests.
These would be the same “media organizations” that are laying people off by the carload, slashing the benefits of those they don’t lay off, and making people do more work in less time for smaller salaries. But, that aside, the annual competition in the category of Best Performance By A Media Outlet In The Role Of A Corporate ‘Ho is likely to be spirited again this year, but The Atlantic’s David Bradley is making a strong run at it.