Michelle Wolf: The Media Is Hopelessly Addicted to Trump
The ace comedian writes about how the media got her White House Correspondents’ Dinner routine so wrong and keeps giving Trump exactly what he craves.
Back in February, when the hosts of this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner were announced, The Washington Post asked me to write an op-ed on my thoughts. I wrote something knowing full well that they would probably refuse to publish it because my foul language doesn’t follow their moral guidelines. I guess we can’t all be as kind and upstanding as their generous owner. You should see how I treat MY warehouse employees. Well, I was right about their refusal to publish it, but here it is anyway…
Confession: I Blew Trump
Why would I ever admit to blowing Trump even if it isn’t true? Because it doesn’t matter what’s in the article. All that matters is the headline. The only reason anyone thinks I made fun of Sarah Sanders’ looks is because that’s what the headlines were. If you look back at those jokes, there is not a single moment when I make fun of Sarah’s appearance. Also, contrary to headlines, I was not partisan. I made fun of the right, I made fun of the left, I made fun of myself, I made fun of the monkfish, I made fun of a lady who died on a Southwest airplane that week, and, most importantly, I made fun of the news. I called the news out on their gross, symbiotic relationship with Trump. Trump is great for their business, which is ironic since he’s catastrophic for his own. But the problem with criticizing the news is that they don’t like it—and they’re the ones who write the headlines.
So who’s been blowing Trump? Providing him sweet, sweet oral satisfaction? It’s The New York Times, it’s MSNBC, it’s CNN, it’s The Hill, it’s CBS, it’s definitely Fox News. It’s all of these media organizations and blogs and websites and books. It’s all the contributors who go on those shows and make money for every temper tantrum they throw. They’re all satisfying Trump, and then wiping their mouths with the money they made. And it’s also YOU. It’s you who’s reading this right now and watching all those shows because you can’t wait to hear how bad Trump is every single day, like an ex who you can’t get over. You’re not #resist, you’re #obsessed.
Is Trump the worst president? I dunno. We’ve had a lot of bad presidents. Nixon started the war on drugs pushing through mandatory sentencing, Reagan (and Nancy) couldn’t have cared less about the AIDS crisis, and one time Obama wore a tan suit. Trump is definitely the least refined president, but the worst? Hard to say. He’s just the first one that powerful white people cared was bad. And if there’s one group that is hoping he wins again, it’s the media. Both sides. And maybe some of you. It’s not often that privileged white people get to feel like the victim. I think the last time it happened was the Titanic.
Am I happy that the Correspondents’ Dinner has a comedian this year? No. The event shouldn’t exist. Why did I do the Correspondents’ Dinner if I’m so opposed to it? So I could do exactly what I did: call the media and the politicians out on their bullshit directly to their face. Whatever this year’s host tries to do, I’m sure it will include some jabs at Trump and his administration that one side of the news will label as “savage” and “eviscerating” and the other side will say is “offensive.” And if the dinner was hosted by a pro-Trump comic, they’d swap headlines quicker than spit at an orgy. (Don’t get fake offended at that. We all know DC has more dirt in it than the folds in Mitch McConnell’s neck—that is a joke about looks.)
But the real problem is that there are sides. The news should not have sides. It should not be entertaining. It should not be on 24 hours a day. The news should be a dry reading of events and facts. It should be a presentation of information, and that is it. It shouldn’t be “breaking” with the same story and no new information hour after hour. It shouldn’t have a panel of four of the loudest contributors where their only qualification appears to be that they can put—and keep on—a shirt. It shouldn’t have opinions or takes or, even worse, fake pearl-clutching in order to maintain their access.
I did my job at the Correspondents’ Dinner. It would be nice if the news would do theirs. The only thing anyone should have gotten upset at was the fact that I made fun of a lady who died—at no fault of her own—and that FLINT STILL DOESN’T HAVE CLEAN WATER. And guess what? They still don’t. Write about that you breaking news, outrage whores. But, instead, I’m sure you’ll continue to write the headlines that get you the most clicks and have contributors on your shows that’ll get enough viewers to keep the step-in bathtub company sponsor happy.
Side note: I wrote this before the virus when the dinner was still scheduled for this weekend. I think that was somewhere between two months and 10 years ago. It’s been rescheduled for August or whenever it’s deemed safe to breathe huffs of indignation on each other. But based on the media’s coverage of the virus, the administration, and what’s going on in general, I’m positive I’m still being too nice. The news’ ratings have spiked the way you said deaths from COVID would. Somewhere in your 24-hour cycle of fearmongering and that charming death ticker, I’m sure there’s good factual information. It’s just hard to find crammed between propaganda press briefings and all your opinions about it. It’s like trying to find a woman’s back Joe Biden refuses to massage. The media is doing us an unforgivable disservice. You’re blowing Trump and talking at the same time. And didn’t your mother ever tell you: it’s rude to talk with your mouth full.