1st Amendment is guest of honor at WHCD 2017

Topaz ?
Author Topaz ?
Collection Media Rules

In the best of times, comedy and politics have an uneasy relationship. These aren't the best of times.

President Trump skipped the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday night, an indication of his hostile relationship with the media who have covered his political rise. He was also savaged at the 2011 event by President Obama.

Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

Hosted by Comedy Central entertainer Hasan Minhaj, politicians, journalists & celebrities gathered in DC for the 103rd WHCD with a bit less than the usual pomp & circumstance due to the anti-press climate set by the Trump administration.

Image: the women of The View

The event organized by the White House Press Association brings political reporters from across the country to Washington to schmooze and gently roast the president. The evening started with a red carpet.

Taking the dais, Minhaj stressed the importance of free speech.

Curiously enough, the White House Correspondents' Dinner tends to be one of the lighter events on the political calendar, but still - not everyone's in on the joke.

Image: George W. Bush and Barack Obama at their roasts

Ronald Reagan was the last sitting president to skip the dinner, back in 1981 when he was recuperating from an assassination attempt. Reagan did call in to the event, and joked about the shooting too.

With the dinner falling on the 100th day of the Trump presidency, tongues were wagging on Twitter.

So, while the WHCD may have had a vastly different tone tonight than in previous years, the bottom line of the event revolves around the First Amendment and honoring our right to free speech which was accomplished with humor and a tinge of somberness.

The dinner awarded 23 student scholarships and journalism awards. Journalism awards were presented to Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post, Edward Isaac-Dovere of Politico, and David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post by investigative journalism icons Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

Newer stars in the media universe connected.

Yes, it was a little scant on the celebrity meter but maybe more important mentions were in order anyway ....

255No one wanted to do this

After the event, news organizations hosted their own parties.

Earlier in the day, comedienne Samantha Bee presented an alt-reality version of the night. She hosted the  #NottheWhiteHouseCorrespondentsDinner just a few miles from the real venue.

Image: Samantha Bee arriving at her alt-WHCD by New York Daily News

Many journalists attended both events, like MSNBC's Van Jones.

Watch Bee's opening monologue.

Did you watch either event? What do you think?

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