On Saturday, the annual media self-congratulatory orgy known as the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner will bring together DC elites and Hollywood stars to celebrate the event’s supposed primary mission. – distribute scholarships to budding journalists.
LOL. In reality, the real reason someone shows up is for the party. When the hangover wears off, the money given to the J-school students is easily eclipsed by the lavish expenses needed to put on the vulgar show.
Orbiting the main event, a slew of before and after parties hosted by CNN, NBCUniversal, Politico and even two Hollywood talent agencies keep the party vibe going all weekend.
The White House Correspondents Association said it has given out more than $1.5 million in scholarships since 1991, and last year it awarded a total of $105,900. To put that number in perspective, that’s less than what WHCA Executive Director Steve Thomma earns in a year, which was $108,258 in 2020, the most recent year for which tax records are available. available.
Undoubtedly, this is significantly less than what the WHCA spends to produce the dinner. The vast majority of money raised each year at ‘Nerd Prom’ goes to pay for expenses like food, drink and celebrities – this year, Comedy Central’s The daily show host Trevor Noah will do the honors.
In 2019, the WHCD raised $777,300 but cost nearly $560,000, according to tax returns. That year, the group handed out $118,000 in scholarships, meaning the WCHA spent nearly five times more on the party than it gave to students.
In other words, the WHCA has spent only 15% of its budget on its so-called primary goal of helping to train the next generation of journalists.
The cost of admission to this year’s dinner is $3,500 per table, which sets news outlets like CNN and Jeff Bezos. Washington Post will gladly pay for the opportunity to rub shoulders with politicians and celebrities.
At previous dinners, there have been up to 260 tables, meaning Saturday’s event could fetch up to $910,000. (This year’s shindig will likely feature slightly fewer tables due to ongoing coronavirus concerns).
The WCHA said it has “allocated” $131,500 for this year’s round of scholarships, meaning scholarship prizes could represent less than 15% of the money raised.
Then-President Donald Trump notoriously boycotted the annual WHCD during his tenure, calling it “boring” and “negative”. Given the organization’s bizarre spending priorities, it’s a rotten deal, too.