Column: The White House Correspondents Host a Biden Rally

It was remarkable breaking news, occurring live on CNN. The White House Correspondents Association hosted a dinner and a Biden for President rally broke out.

It’s only natural that CNN loves live coverage of the White House Correspondents Dinner, where the anti-Trump media celebrate themselves for how essential they are to preserving democracy and how valiantly they warn Americans that Donald Trump is democracy’s antonym.

President Biden’s speech made some jokes about his age – it’s that safe spot where all the late-night comedians go. But he also showed nastiness: “Yes, age is an issue. I’m a grown man running against a six-year-old.” They loved that joke on CNN.

Like last year, Biden thought it was funny to insist he doesn’t have to grant access to reporters, because “I do interviews with strong independent journalists who millions of people actually listen to, like Howard Stern.” Instead, he lectured them about how Trump “has made no secret of his attack on our democracy,” and the “free press” needs to make sure the voters have “the information they need to make an informed decision.”

Biden thinks a pro-Biden media needs to deliver: “I’m sincerely not asking you to take sides, but asking you to rise up to the seriousness of the moment.” He clearly means the media need to underline Trump needs to lose.

Biden ripped into Trump, ranting about January 6, spewing misinformation about Trump’s attention-grabbing way of speaking. “He said he wants to be a dictator on Day One….he promised a bloodbath when he loses again.”

If you’re a low-information voter, you wouldn’t know Trump joked with Sean Hannity about being a dictator for one day, and he said our economy would be a “bloodbath” if Biden was reelected. You can scold Trump for his rhetorical red meat. But that doesn’t mean journalists and presidents should mischaracterize what he says.

This is not how these dinners used to work. Twenty years ago at this dinner, when President George W. Bush was lining up against Sen. John Kerry, Bush didn’t say one negative word about his opponent or one negative word about the opposing party. He made gentle jokes about the press. He didn’t urge the networks to defeat John Kerry at the anchor desk. He talked about heroic reporters in war zones, and heroic soldiers.

That’s not how it unfolded in 2024. The hired comedian, Saturday Night Live fake-news anchor Colin Jost, concluded his comedy routine by remembering his late grandfather, a Staten Island firefighter, who voted for Biden in 2020.

“He voted for you, and the reason that he voted for you is because you’re a decent man. My grandpa voted for decency, and decency is why we’re all here tonight. Decency is how we’re able to be here tonight. Decency is how we’re able to make jokes about each other, and one of us doesn’t go to prison after.”

He then repeated: “So, Mr. President, I thank you for your decency on behalf of my grandfather.”

Jost said this after Biden said his opponent was a six-year-old who would spur a bloodbath if he loses. He said this after he mocked Trump as “currently spending his days farting himself awake during a porn-star hush-money trial,” and the courtroom sketch artist makes Trump look like “the Grinch had sex with the Lorax.”

At least CNN allowed their contributor Scott Jennings to sum up the evening: “We had Biden speak tonight, and then we had a Biden surrogate effectively speak tonight.”  It’s no wonder CNN wanted to air the whole thing live.

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