Last night when we posted coverage of the White House Correspondents Dinner – we didn’t expect so many of you to engage with us on a Sunday night. But we were pleasantly surprised by the discussion spurred by comments made by comedian Michelle Wolf. It is moments like these that cause us to evaluate positions and societal expectations.
Here is a link for those of you who missed it. I encourage you to watch all 20 minutes of it, because it is my opinion that some comments are being taken out of context today. While some of her material was edgey and even crass, parts were very funny and I appreciated the ways in which she used comedy to hold our leaders, media and ourselves accountable for this insane roller coaster.
If you’re at work and don’t have headphones, there is also a link to the transcript.
What is making headlines today is Wolf’s comments regarding White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
They are copied below:
“Every time Sarah steps up to the podium, I get excited because I’m not really sure what we’re going to get: you know, a press briefing, a bunch of lies or divided into softball teams. “It’s shirts and skins, and this time, don’t be such a little b—-, Jim Acosta.”
I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. Like, she burns facts, and then she uses the ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she’s born with it; maybe it’s lies.
It’s probably lies.
And I’m never really sure what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders. You know, is it Sarah Sanders? Is Sarah Huckabee Sanders? Is it Cousin Huckabee? Is it Auntie Huckabee Sanders? Like, what’s Uncle Tom but for white women who disappoint other white women? Oh, I know: Aunt Coulter.”
Your responses were mixed.
“I didn’t think Michelle’s roast had anything to do with Sarah’s appearance, I thought it was brilliant and spot on!”
“The current occupant of the White House has so lowered the bar. Are we doomed to continue to sink …?”
“Never a fan of making fun of another woman’s appearance.”
“There cannot be double standards.”
“She was awesome- saved her roast of the media til the end and she nailed it!”
Here’s the facts. (no fake news here) Sanders one of a long line of people and entities roasted by Wolf. This is what we’ve come to expect from the White House Correspondents Dinners. Stephen Colbert did it in 2006. At the time people criticized him for being harsh of the administration. President George W. Bush was the target that year and to spite the fact he no doubt expected to be a target of at least a few jokes, he was still present, by the way.
So what’s different this go-round? Let’s acknowledge the literal elephant in the room (Not a comment on weight, he is a member of the GOP.) – Trump. His visceral hatred of the only profession protected by the U.S. Constitution is one factor. Beyond that, Sanders is a woman, and in the current times I believe there is a caution to how we speak of the jobs we do, and how we handle things. Lastly, Wolf is a woman as well.
There’s a worthwhile discussion to be had – most definitely in another piece – on the way in which women treat women in the workforce. We are hard on each other. At times we are overly critical, beyond what is fair.
It is my opinion only – but I don’t’ believe this is one of those instances. Sanders accepted her job, knowing who her boss would be, and fully aware of his behavior and potential for volatility.
Our president and his administration have made this country an international punchline, and you can rest assured a talented comedian will take the low hanging fruit.
On top of that, let’s not use Wolf as a scapegoat. She was hired to do what she did. If she had taken the stage and pretended that everything is “normal” in this country now – we’d be flaming her for that today.
And I do want to speak up for Sanders. The administration knew it would be a verbal stoning last night and while our leader couldn’t be bothered to attend, he put up Sarah Sanders as the sacrificial lamb.
As a member of the media for the last 20 years, I am glad she held us accountable for our faults and failings. My favorite line of the night regarding our behavior was directed at CNN.
We’ve got our friends at CNN here. Welcome, guys, it’s great to have you. You guys love breaking news, and you did it. You broke it. Good work.
The most useful information on CNN is when Anthony Bourdain tells me where to eat noodles.
So today while President Trump is railing about the dinner and predicting its demise – I wish all of us to look at the points made by Wolf’s monologue. Our leaders are not going our job. Neither is most of the mainstream media. But most importantly – neither are we. We must continue to engage and go beyond the vote.