In recent years the White House Correspondents’ Dinner has gotten a bad rap as the Washington event that had gone Hollywood to its own demise. Instead of White House correspondents and nerdy political types, it was Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, and Sean Penn with Scarlett Johansson in his lap. Not that popularity to attend was waning, but the cool factor had gone way down.
This year some news outlets are avoiding celebrity guests and instead taking corporate and political guests. For instance, Politico is going heavy on powerful people in business and light on people who would have any reason to turn up on TMZ (famous last words, we know).
Their list includes: Brian Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America, Wes Bush, CEO, Northrop Grumman, Eric Spiegel, CEO, Siemens, Marty Durbin, Incoming CEO, ANGA, Gary Cohn, COO, and John Rogers, Executive Vice President, Goldman Sachs, James Murren, CEO, MGM Resorts, Lorenzo Simonelli, CEO, GE Transportation, Don Baer, CEO, Burson-Marsteller. Their non-business types: San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.
The Hill is taking DCCC Chairman Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), who (no offense) most people couldn’t pick out of a lineup. Yahoo! News is refreshingly following suit with names that don’t have a particularly high wow-factor outside of Washington. Their dinner guest is Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a big Grateful Dead fan who was born mostly blind in one eye. Guests for the weekend include Caitlin Hayward, lead spokeswoman for the National Security Council, and Edwin Donovan, Deputy Assistant Director of the U.S. Secret Service.
A spokesperson for Yahoo! News told FishbowlDC, “In the last year Yahoo! News has doubled down on original content, expanded its presence in Washington DC with its first-ever DC bureau, and made a series of notable new hires. We wanted our guests this year to reflect our on-going commitment to political coverage.”