The 103rd White House Correspondents Dinner may look different this year if one TV network chooses to sit it out.
BuzzFeed reports CNN is considering not attending the event, which would mean a loss of thousands of dollars for the WHCA.
“We haven’t made a decision on it yet,” a CNN spokesperson told BuzzFeed.
The organization makes money from selling tables to the annual event. The ballroom at the Washington Hilton accommodates some 260 tables which seat 10 people each at an average cost of $3,000 per table. The TV networks usually buy multiple tables for their staffers and guests.
In recent years, CNN has turned the dinner into a made-for-TV event with a red carpet arrivals special, analysis of the speeches and post-dinner party coverage.
In an op-ed in the Washington Post rearlier thsi month, CBS’s Major Garrett implored news orgs not to skip the dinner. He says CBS “will participate this year and proudly so.”
Yes, it might strike some as unseemly for reporters to attend a banquet where the keynote speaker is a president who calls the press “dishonest” purveyors of “fake news.” But it would be even more unseemly, given our role, if we signaled to our readers, viewers and listeners that it is beneath us to pay Trump the same institutional respect extended to previous presidents.