Late Night Open Thread: (Probably) One Last Nerdprom Review

Keep in mind — Ana Navarro is a professional Republican. Jen Chaney, at NYMag Vulture blog:

It would have been easy for Wolf to take a cheap shot at either of these women for some superficial offense, like the way they dress or talk. As Nussbaum points out, that’s what Trump would have done, and has done on many occasions. But nothing about what Michelle Wolf did on Saturday night was easy. It was hard, harder even than the truthtelling that Stephen Colbert did to President George W. Bush’s face at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. True, Colbert was dressing down the commander in chief in his actual presence, something Wolf didn’t have the opportunity to do since Trump, for the second year in a row, couldn’t muster the courage to show up for this event. But Colbert could at least hide behind his alter ego as the conservative host of The Colbert Report. Wolf had to go out there as only the fourth female comedian to perform solo at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, drop a bunch of truth bombs, then sit back down with no shield to provide cover…

Not surprisingly, though, it’s the jabs that Wolf threw at Sanders and other Trump staffers that are getting criticized today, not just because some of them were funny but because they legitimately stung. To acknowledge what actually made the smoky eye line funny meant that some of the people in that ballroom had to reflect on the fact that they either lie, enable liars, or act nicely to liars because that’s what they sometimes have to do to get the information the public deserves to know. That’s the sort of situation that makes people itchy.

But here’s the thing: If the worst thing that happens to you while you’re working for Trump is that a woman from The Daily Show says a few mean things about you while you’re wearing a nice dress, eating a free meal, and drinking some wine, you are still having a better day than a hell of a lot of people in this country. Also, this is part of the job when you’re a public servant…

Life in Washington will move on from this, too. But before it does, I want to pause and make sure it’s clear why I and others reacted the way we did to the backlash against Wolf’s speech. It wasn’t because the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is so important to our nation — I’m guessing most of the country, if not the vast majority, has no idea it even happened last night — or because Wolf is the most brilliant comedian who’s ever lived. I thought she was pretty funny, but that’s not really the point. The issue is that those who expressed shock about her performance could not see the obliviousness and hypocrisy in their responses…

But what’s even worse than misguided pearl-clutching is the fact that Wolf is getting criticized for things that she never even said. It’s not unlike the experience that plays out when Trump and his staff, including Sanders, peddle “alternative facts” to the public: If you’re paying attention to the actual facts, it makes you question your own sense of reality. This is why, after seeing the criticism of Wolf’s jokes about Sanders, I felt like I had to rewatch that portion of her speech again because surely I must have missed something.

On a night designed to celebrate the importance of journalism, somehow, what some people heard was a jab about a smoky eye. They’re missing the underlying point of Wolf’s comedy: That what should concern every American are the smokescreens that Sarah Huckabee Sanders and other members of the Trump administration create, and that make it so hard for White House correspondents to uncover the actual truth.






29 replies
  1. 1
    Mike J says:

    As I mentioned to TL earlier, we need terms limits on the press corps. Institutional memory hasn’t helped them, and at least we’d be rid of the worst offenders sooner.

    I don’t mind the Trumpists lying and feigning indignation. Nobody who doesn’t buy ink by the barrel bothers to pretend that they’re not all scum. The press have shown everyone that we would be better off without this incarnation of the WHCA. Does it matter if we have a free press if they act like hostages?

  2. 2

    Glad to see some pushback to the pearl clutching.
    And dare I mention that if Hillary were president, and if the dinner comedian had made some cutting remarks about her pantsuits (which I’m sure she would be roundly criticized for as “lacking in presidential style”) then wouldn’t the same bunch be telling her to get over it, it was just a few laughs, can’t you take a joke, you have to lighten up….

  3. 3
    seaboogie says:

    All terrifically on point.

  4. 4
    joel hanes says:

    They’re only pretending to think that Wolf dinged SHS for her looks.

    But they can’t very well pretend that SHS does not regularly lie during the gaggles,
    so they must focus on the backhanded compliment within which
    that truth, which must not be acknowledged, was wrapped.

  5. 5
    Mike J says:

    @joel hanes: The press doesn’t care one way or another about insulting SHS.They want to destroy the messenger that told the truth about them.

  6. 6
    Mandalay says:

    Just when you think the commentary about the WHCD can’t get any worse, some sanctimonious asshole writes a piece of virtue signaling drivel titled Ten journalists were just killed in Afghanistan. Please STFU about the White House Correspondents’ dinner.

    As Pauli said: “What you said was so confused that one could not tell whether it was nonsense or not“.

  7. 7
    Jay says:

    @Mike J:

    Yup X a bajillion.

  8. 8
    Platonailedit says:

    That what should concern every American are the smokescreens that Sarah Huckabee Sanders and other members of the Trump administration create, and that make it so hard for White House correspondents to uncover the actual truth.

    All the chaff all the time and the media minions will willingly eat it up.

  9. 9
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    My nym. Over and over again.

    Wipe them out. All of them.

  10. 10
    Platonailedit says:

    BBC, that paragon of news bidness going the murkan msm way – ‘Mueller threatened Trump with subpoena’.

  11. 11
    Mary G says:

    I lost respect for journalists in exact proportion to the amount of pearl clutching they did. And Flint still doesn’t have clean water!

    I hope there are no professional repercussions for Michelle Wolf.

  12. 12
    Mandalay says:

    @joel hanes:

    They’re only pretending to think that Wolf dinged SHS for her looks.

    Haberman wasn’t. She posted a tweet about it, and then doubled down after everyone explained to her why she was full of shit, and had completely misunderstood what Wolf said.

    I guess she was trying to act presidential.

  13. 13
    ruemara says:

    Pity Navarro is a die-hard republican. She has too much awareness for one.

  14. 14
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Mary G:

    I hope there are no professional repercussions for Michelle Wolf.

    It would be excellent if the repercussions were similar to those that happened to the last comedian who spoke truth to power like that …. back in 06. *grin*

  15. 15
    barb 2 says:

    Court Jesters — is their job to stroke the ego of the Prez or to tell the truth with humor?

    WH New corps — what were they doing during the Watergate years? That was a few lifetimes ago.

    Will the retired folk (and Vets) rise up against the GOP when the Grand old Pigs (sorry real pigs) privatizes and further loots SS, Medicare the so-called entitlements? The support of the GOP isn’t that strong. The kids need to start asking the grandparents about their “entitlements” the ones that the old folks and all working folks are paying into. We are stronger together — and we do have a whole lot in common with each other.

    We do need more truth tellers — honest court jesters. Humor is important — no — it is vital to a democracy.

  16. 16
    hervevillechaizelounge says:

    Ana Navarro is the reasonable republican; ain’t that grand? She should ask Michael Steele how his lifelong allegiance to the republican party worked out for him.

    I’m so thrilled Michelle Wolf isn’t backing down; every time someone apologizes to these vile fascists I lose my mind. (Lookin’ at you, Jimmy Kimmel and Kathy Griffin.)

    To apologize to a republican is to recognize their humanity; these cretins chortle at families torn apart by INS and black folks randomly killed by LE—when republicans start acting like ALL Americans are human I’ll start acting they’re human.

    Unlike Ana Navarro, I find racism to be a deal breaker.

  17. 17
    bystander says:

    Can anyone explicate this sentence from the Frank Rich article on Roy Cohn:

    (The putz-cum-fixer Michael Cohen, who is to Cohn what Dan Quayle was to Jack Kennedy, boasts none of these attributes either.)

    Dan Quayle and Jack Kennedy?

  18. 18
    Amir Khalid says:

    @bystander:
    At the VP candidates’ debate in 1988, Dan Quayle for the Republicans likened himself to Jack Kennedy. Lloyd Bentsen for the Democratic party famously replied that he, Bentsen, had known Jack Kennedy; that Jack Kennedy was his friend; and that Quayle was no Jack Kennedy.

  19. 19
    sharl says:

    @bystander: LOL, Amir has it right. The incident even has its own Wikipedia entry, from which I learned some background I’d never seen before:

    Dukakis adviser Susan Estrich recalled in 2004:

    Three days [before the debate], in rehearsal, [Bentsen] had been shocked when the Dan Quayle stand-in compared himself to Jack Kennedy. “Does he really do that?”, Bentsen asked at the time. He did. “Can I say something?”, Bentsen, ever the gentleman, asked us. We nodded enthusiastically. So as we sat backstage, and heard Quayle compare himself to Kennedy, I turned to the key supporters gathered in the holding room and said, “Here it comes.” And it did.

    It really knocked Quayle off-balance, and left him sputtering in indignation.

  20. 20
    bystander says:

    @Amir Khalid: @sharl:

    Thanks. Now I get it. It’s still really clumsy for Frank Rich.

  21. 21
    SFAW says:

    @bystander:

    It’s still really clumsy for Frank Rich.

    I think it’s more a case of needing to be above a certain age (sans dementia) to get it, rather than clumsiness.

  22. 22
    trnc says:

    @Cathie from Canada:

    if Hillary were president, and if the dinner comedian had made some cutting remarks about her pantsuits (which I’m sure she would be roundly criticized for as “lacking in presidential style”) then wouldn’t the same bunch be telling her to get over it, it was just a few laughs, can’t you take a joke, you have to lighten up….

    Even AFTER she clearly has no problem with a pantsuit joke and probably makes her own. Remember, they have to make up quotes and context in order for their feigned outrage to make sense.

  23. 23
    Jack the Second says:

    @bystander:
    People have really got to stop using that Latin word out of context, because “Putz Cum Fixer” could literally be his job title.

  24. 24
    MattF says:

    See, Republicans all anticipated that jokes about Sanders would be about her physical appearance. When that didn’t actually happen, they got confused and upset.

  25. 25
    Aimai says:

    @bystander: a pale, would be, imitation. First time tragedy second time farce.

  26. 26
    Bookeater (formerly JosieJ) says:

    @sharl:

    It really knocked Quayle off-balance, and left him sputtering in indignation.

    And deflated and utterly humiliated.

    One of the few good memories I have of that presidential race.

  27. 27
    Gex mobile says:

    @Mary G: her new show on Netflix starts this month. I’m guessing more people know of her now and they may actually send viewers her way.

  28. 28
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Jack the Second: It’s your Internet, I just connect to it.

  29. 29
    workworkwork says:

    @Mary G: I have a feeling that Wolf’s phone is ringing off the hook with offers.

    In fact, I re-watched her HBO special last night because the WHCD reminded me of how funny she is. (Plus I haven’t seen her do a piece on the Daily Show lately.)

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