Freedom of the press! Celebrities! (Also, the President.)

WASHINGTON — The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is an annual celebration of the importance of the First Amendment. And, you know, Chrissy Teigen might show up.

On Saturday evening, President Biden will show up for dinner for the second time in his presidency. He is expected to talk about the importance of press freedom and the troubling detentions of journalists around the world.

Then, a president who is rarely surrounded by members of the press in informal settings is likely to deliver a speech of around 10 to 20 minutes that contains some salty asides on his cover and some rather helpful jokes about journalists and their idiosyncrasies, like he did it last time. year.

Roy Wood Jr., comedian and correspondent for “The Daily Show”, will host the event. He told Politico this week he would be bringing “Clarence Thomas jokes” and that he wasn’t sure his set would go well.

“I don’t think Washington has a sense of humor,” he said.

Should be fun!

People in Washington all have their way of dealing with this weekend, and that includes the president. Some people are leaving town, some are jumping into the party lineup like impatient little salmon swimming upstream, and others are taking the opportunity to incorporate it into their regular rants on the news media.

No one did the latter more vocally than Mr. Biden’s predecessor, Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump may have clouded the dinner party with his star power and pre-party funding, but he never quite succeeded in stifling this town’s will to party.

Mr. Biden, who is out of town most weekends, decided to meet dinner. According to an analysis of his schedule, this is only his 24th in Washington of 118 as president. He spent all or part of his 227-day presidency at one of his Delaware homes, according to Mark Knoller, a former CBS correspondent who has tracked presidential moves since the Ford era.

The coronavirus temporarily derailed the event in 2020 and 2021, but last year Mr Biden joined the city’s elite by lining up in a ballroom amid a rise in Covid-19 cases. 19 – Trevor Noah! Kim Kardashian is launching her (ephemeral) romance with Pete Davidson! Also: The First Amendment!

Safely socially distanced Mr Biden couldn’t help but point out that the number of cases was rising: “Do you read any of your own newspapers?” he asked the cheering crowd. He also helpfully reminded the audience that he was among the other vaxxed and boosted: “Just contact your favorite Fox News reporter. They are all here. Vaccinated and boosted.

Expect more presidential ribbing this year and more boos. This spring, the coronavirus was sidelined with the other boiling global issues, and the party plan was back in full force. Reporters ran all over Washington like it was a Sadie Hawkins power dance, asking administration officials to sit at tables with them in the Washington’s 2,600-seat ballroom Hilton. (New York Times reporters are not attending the dinner.)

Tickets sell for $375, Tamara Keith, NPR reporter and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said in an interview. The non-profit organization makes about $975,000 from tickets alone, with much of the revenue going to scholarships. Ms Keith said that over the past decade the organization has raised some $1.1 million for scholarships. She said she wrote most of the speech she will deliver this year aboard Air Force One during the president’s trip from Ireland.

At the dinner, reporters receive awards for their work in explaining the president and his decision-making to the world, on time. This year, Gwen Ifill of PBS NewsHour and Washington Week and Bill Plante of CBS News will receive posthumous awards to recognize their professional achievements.

In his remarks, Mr Biden is expected to raise the case of Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter who was formally charged with espionage by the Russian government after his detention in March. Mr. Biden’s administration has vehemently denied the accusations.

“It’s always a complicated night,” Ms Keith said. “There’s comedy, there’s absolute tragedy with the unjustly detained journalists around the world that we’re going to hold back from our dinner. And yes, there has always been, no matter the president, no matter the body of press, a somewhat uncomfortable relationship between the president and the press that covers them.There should be some too.

According to a roundup by Deadline, guests this year include several cabinet officials, including Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. Singer John Legend and model and lifestyle mogul Ms. Teigen are among the celebrities who will be in attendance. Lisa Vanderpump and Ariana Madix, who star in the Bravo reality series “Vanderpump Rules”, are also present.

Ms Keith said journalists will also get a “very good message” from Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former Governor of California, who will call the media “an ally of the people”.

And then there are the parties, so plentiful that news outlets like Politico and Axios — which are hosting events this year — have accumulated handy guides for maximizing attendance. Free drinks are plentiful and the hangover will linger until Sunday morning when there will be more parties. After that, there are only about 364 days until the next dinner.

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