Credo Action

Tell White House reporters: Defend the truth, not the powerful

Sign the petition

The petition to the White House Correspondents' Association and all White House reporters reads:

"Instead of criticizing Michelle Wolf for her roast of public figures, journalists should be focused on holding those in power accountable. Your job is to defend the truth, not the Trump administration."

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    Tell White House reporters: Defend the truth, not the powerful

    When comedian Michelle Wolf roasted the Trump administration at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner, some of the gala's attendees were horrified. But Wolf's political satire targeted the most powerful public figures in our country. Trump's own comments about women, immigrants and journalists themselves are much more shocking – and far more harmful.

    When journalists are more outraged by a comedian's critique of politicians than they are by politicians attacking the free press itself, something is wrong.

    Tell the White House Correspondents' Association and all White House reporters: Your job is to defend the truth, not the Trump administration.

    Michelle Wolf's scathing routine was quickly criticized by journalists, including the New York Times' Maggie Haberman, NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell and Andrea Mitchell, and the head of the White House Correspondents' Association, Margaret Talev.1

    The most controversial joke of the night was when Wolf said that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders "burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye."2 In response, MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski tweeted, "Watching a wife and mother be humiliated on national television for her looks is deplorable."3

    But Wolf's joke wasn't mocking Sanders' appearance, it was about her job – which is lying to journalists on behalf of Donald Trump. Sanders regularly lies, and defends Trump's lies, to support his agenda.4, 5, 6 By doing so, she shows far less respect for journalists and the American public than Wolf showed for her.

    Invoking Sanders as a wife and mother ignores the fact that she is a powerful public figure who speaks on behalf of the White House. Journalists have a responsibility to hold the powerful accountable, not to defend them when others do. While journalists hobnob at Washington galas, Trump officials aim to take away women's rights, deport millions, degrade our democratic institutions and bring us closer to war.

    Sign our petition and we'll deliver your signature to the New York Times' Maggie Haberman, MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski, NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell and Andrea Mitchell, and the head of the White House Correspondents' Association, Margaret Talev to send the message that we need journalists to focus their outrage where it matters and speak truth to power.

    Tell the White House Correspondents' Association and all White House reporters: Your job is to defend the truth, not the Trump administration.

    References:

    1. Michael M. Grynbaum, "Michelle Wolf Sets Off a Furor at White House Correspondents’ Dinner," The New York Times, April 29, 2018.
    2. Ibid.
    3. Ibid.
    4. Jenna Amatulli, "Sarah Huckabee Sanders Says It’s Not ‘Appropriate To Lie,’ But …," HuffPost, Aug. 2, 2017.
    5. CNN Politics, "Fact-checking a week of Sarah Sanders," Nov. 2, 2017.
    6. Eugene Kiely, "Fact check: Here are the biggest whoppers of 2017," USA Today, Dec. 12, 2017.