The reaction to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner wasn’t simply hypocritical. It also highlighted the latest line of attack in Washington: crying Wolfby Adam Aiken / May 3, 2018 / Leave a comment
The hoo-ha that resulted from Michelle Wolf’s performance at the weekend’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner did not only encapsulate the hatred that has become all-consuming in US politics. It also shone the spotlight on the latest weapon in the battle between left and right: accusation of distastefulness.
That Wolf’s speech should have provoked the ire of some on the right was no surprise. But alongside those who were genuinely upset at what they saw as an unnecessary, cruel and personal attack on White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders were others who have now taken on the role of victim—even though they have been guilty of enabling similar behaviour themselves.
Ed Henry, of Fox News, called Wolf “vile”, but his criticism had some valid context: as Henry pointed out, he had deliberately veered away from picking a vehemently anti-Barack Obama comedian back when he had been in charge of the White House Correspondents’ Association.
Journalists not known as being pro-Trump also came out against Wolf and in support of Sanders. Maggie Haberman, of the New York Times, laid into the comedian, even though Haberman herself had recently been the butt of an insulting tweet by Donald Trump. Mika Brzezinski, of NBC, referenced her own experience of being on the end of sexist abuse from Trump as she stood up for Sanders.
But alongside these principled critics were an army of hypocrites. We’ve seen political discourse plunge new depths in the US over the past couple of years—much due to the childish petulance of Trump, who has been aided and abetted by his friends. And it was some of those staunch friends of the president who hit the airwaves after the Correspondents’ Dinner, pretending to be terribly upset.