When the comedian Hasan Minhaj stepped up to deliver his remarks at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday night, he had known for more than two months that President Trump would skip the gala. Samantha Bee, who broadcast her own competing event, called the “Not The White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” on the same night, probably never wanted Mr. Trump there in the first place.
But in the absence of Mr. Trump, who instead gave a rally in Harrisburg, Pa., Mr. Minhaj, a correspondent on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show,” and Ms. Bee, the host of TBS’s “Full Frontal,” took a page from the playbook of this president, whose relationship with the news media has been singularly contentious, and vented their spleens at the press.
Though the comedians’ programs were shown in opposition to each other, they arrived at similar places. Both celebrated the First Amendment and the freedoms it grants, but they also took sharp aim at the news media, urging reporters to show more integrity and to win back the respect of the American public.
“We’re living in this strange time where trust is more important than truth,” Mr. Minhaj said in his performance at the Washington Hilton Hotel. “And supporters of President Trump trust him. And I know journalists, you guys are definitely trying to do good work. I just think that a lot of people don’t trust you right now. And can you blame them? I mean, unlike Anderson Cooper’s bone structure, you guys have been far from perfect.’’
Ms. Bee, whose show was recorded on Saturday afternoon at DAR Constitution Hall, made similar observations.
“With so much excellent reporting out there, why do 96 percent of Americans believe the media should be strung up by its own bowels?” she asked. “I don’t know — maybe because when they turn on the TV looking for news, all they can find are journalists trying to referee a pack of well-coiffed message robots shouting at each other all day from increasingly tiny boxes.”
Mr. Minhaj, 31, who described himself as “a first-generation Indian-American Muslim kid,” arguably had the tougher task of the night. He agreed to appear at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner at a time when it has come under renewed criticism for enabling the cozy mingling of reporters and the government officials they cover.
And Mr. Minhaj lacked the star power of past entertainers like Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel. As Mr. Minhaj said at the start of his routine, “No one wanted to do this….
Click here to read more