It’s funny because it’s true.

At one point during his routine at the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday night, host Larry Wilmore chuckled after another sizzling burn was met with groans and remarked to the audience “you guys are tough!”  

Well, you know what they say, the truth hurts.  Both President Obama and host Larry Wilmore played whack-a-mole with the ballroom on a variety of sensitive subjects that many of guests probably considered to be too close to home.  

Most hilariously and accurately was the skewering of MSNBC’s Morning Joe for morphing into a cheerleader with a megaphone and a “Make America Great Again” hat.  

As Wilmore said: “ And whenever I turn to the TV, I see Trump’s family campaigning for him, gushing all over him. Or as it’s also known as, “Morning Joe.” Have you seen “Morning Joe”? C’mon, guys, seriously. No, you know it’s true. Guys, “Morning Joe” has their head so far up Trump’s ass they bumped into Chris Christie.”

Harsh. But fair.

Panning the crown, the MSNBC table more closely resembled the Easter Island statues than party goers.  However, any viewer at home who had tuned into Morning Joe in the past 6 months was sitting there going, “yup, pretty accurate.”

Just last week, Trump called into Morning Joe sounding as though he had accidentally picked up the phone thinking it was his alarm. The host, Mika Brzezinksi, joked that “he sounds like he’s lying in bed!”  Well, Mika, he probably was, because that is how Charmin-soft your questions are and how easy it has become for him to conduct his campaign.

CNN didn’t receive nearly as much as heat as they deserved, but then again, that would be impossible without a flamethrower the size of the Washington Monument.  President Obama took a blistering shot at former White House Correspondent Jake Tapper by saying that “Jake Tapper left journalism to join CNN.”

Ouch. But fair.

In his new job, Tapper sold out to the entertainment machine and now spends his days covering Donald Trump’s twitter account 24/7 while meditating “he said, she said” debates between Sean Spicer and Paul Begala.  Obama’s line may have been stiff, but it was certainly accurate.

Former CNN & NBC anchor Campbell Brown recently wrote an article for Politico detailing how she viewed the media as complicit in Trump’s rise. She faulted just about every aspect of their jobs, from letting Trump wiggle out of tough questions like a greased pig to producers tucking their tail between their legs and letting him call in instead of showing up in person.

Obama has always used his quick wit and gift for comedic timing to advance his agenda and take cuts at a political opponents.  Throughout his Presidency he has appeared on shows with Jon Stewart, Zach Galifianakis, Jerry Seinfeld and others and always been very effective at contributing to the laughs while staying on message.

These White House Correspondents Dinners, while generally good natured at their core, are just another example of his, and the host’s, ability to use humor to advance a message.  The President clearly believes – and rightfully so – that the media has done a miserable job of conducting journalism during this presidential campaign.  Policy discussions have taken a backseat to drama and the national discourse has suffered as a consequence.

While I fully expect absolutely nothing to change as a result of their public shaming, in a perfect world I would hope that Wolf Blitzer would follow Wilmore’s advice and actually ask a follow up question.  I’d love to turn on New Day and learn something… new… instead of hearing about the latest thing Ben Carson said. (How is that still a thing?) I’d love to see Mike and Joe force Trump into the studio and resist the urge to hug him on air.

Those on the receiving end during Saturday night’s affair deserved every last punchline for their role in the debacle that is 2016.  But as always, Obama said it best: “{Trump} wanted to give his hotel business a boost and now we are praying that Cleveland makes it through July.”

Follow on Twitter @EighteenthandU


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