2012 White House Correspondents’ Dinner

30 Apr

by Littlebells

Saturday, April 28, 2012, the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) held its 92nd annual dinner.  The Association began in 1914 after unfounded that the Congressional Standing Committee of Correspondents would pick which reporters would be invited.  The White House reporters were greatly upset and eleven of the said reporters formed the WHCA.  It lay dormant until 1920 when it had it’s first dinner.[1]

The dinner is to honor WHCA Journalism Award recipients as well as to raise money for WHCA scholarships.  To have membership, the correspondents,

  •  “must be employed on the editorial staff of a newspaper, magazine, wire service, radio, TV, cable TV, or other broadcast organization or news gathering organization that regularly reports on the White House.”[2]

Up until 25 years ago, no celebrities were in attendance.  Watch the following video:


Now it has become a red carpet event and Who’s Who of Washington, D.C.  It seems the mission of the White House Correspondence Dinner is greatly overshadowed by the HW celebrities that flock by the droves to the dinner and parties.

Celebrities are invited by WHCA correspondents.  Here are some who attended this year’s dinner:

  • Reese Witherspoon and Viola Davis (Newsweek/The Daily Beast)
  • Josh Huterson and Dianne Keaton (PEOPLE)
  • Charlize Theron (POLITICO)


  • Barbara Walters and George Clooney (TIME)—“Ok, these two in attendance make sense.”
  • Martha Stewart, Kelly Ripa, Johnny Galecki (USA Today)
  • Members of “Modern Family” cast (ABC)
  • Co-chairman and CEO of DreamWorks Studio (Atlantic Media)
  • Zooey Deschanel and model Kate Upton (Bloomberg)
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer (Huffington Post)
  • Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner (FOX News)[3]


  • Lindsay Lohan (FOX’s Greta Von Susteren)—”I…uummm…REALLY????”

When reading the list of names, I felt some were appropriate for the situation given their political and humanitarian efforts and what they have positively contributed to the media.  Others made me think, “Are you KIDDING me??? Why on EARTH are they there?”  Then I just chalked it up to a good old steaming cup of PR.

For those of you interested in more than just the “Razzle Dazzle”, here are the names of those who were honored:

  • Merriman Smith Memorial Award –outstanding examples of deadline reporting: Jake Tapper (ABC News) and Glenn Thrush, Carrie Budoff Brown, Manu Raju and John Bresnahan (Politico).
  • Aldo Beckman Memorial Award—outstanding journalism:   Scott Wilson (The Washington Post)
  • Edgar A. Poe Memorial Award—Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley (Associated Press)[4]

 WHCA Scholarship Recipients:

  • Deborah Orin Scholarship: Virginia “Jenna” Barnes and Benjamin Kesling
  • David Unger from Northwestern University
  • Namo Abdullah Azeez from Columbia University
  • Shaquille Brewster, Christina Downs, and Sarayah Wintersmith from Howard University
  • Ryan Grochowski, Siyu Hu, Jessica Pupovac, Jessica Stephens, Joseph Yerardi, and Yiquin Zhang from University of Missouri
  • Jamie Goldberg of The Unviersity of California, Berkley
  • Christian Trevino, University of Maryland
  • Jack Donaldson Memorial Scholarship: Angel Brock from McKinley Technology High School, Washington, D.C.[5]

Between the celebrities and those who were honored/received awards, which names do you know better?  Where was David Unger or Jessica Pupovac on the Yahoo!  Home page Red Carpet picture gallery?  It seems Washington may need to take a look at what the WHCD has become and do a bit of revamping.  Shouldn’t we be focusing on those honored instead of skits, stand up comedy, and which celebrity to invite.  We don’t need anymore dumbing down of America.  Let’s highlight those journalists who have actually made a difference and actually get their facts from reliable sources before going to print or live TV.

Please join us for a discussion Tuesday, 5/1/2012@7pmE/12UTC.


33 Responses to “2012 White House Correspondents’ Dinner”

  1. Comic Relief May 1, 2012 at 1:14 AM #

    Wow LB,

    I think I’ll have to come back later and comment. I sincerly hope to be at the discussion as well.

    Great article, I took at least 3 breaks before finishing the whole thing.

    • littlebells May 1, 2012 at 10:40 AM #

      Thank you CR! It was actually a very tricky piece to write because there was SO MUCH INFORMATION. hahaha!!!

      • Comic Relief May 1, 2012 at 12:18 PM #

        Ok, I’m scared, let me take a step back and reaccess.

        Anyway, last years correspondence dinner was quite a trip wasn’t it?

  2. Open Book May 1, 2012 at 2:09 PM #


    Love it!!

  3. littlebells May 1, 2012 at 7:04 PM #

    Welcome new and returning visitors. Today seems to be a busy day for most of us here at LIH, so our discussion may be small. However, please feel free to comment or ask questions at any time. 🙂

  4. parisienne May 1, 2012 at 7:30 PM #

    Hi LB!

    Are there any requirements that celebrities have to meet to be invited?

    • littlebells May 1, 2012 at 7:33 PM #

      Not that I know of. I’ve been trying to find info on it, but I’m coming up with nada! What do u think of it all?

  5. parisienne May 1, 2012 at 7:36 PM #

    I think its a little overzealous. I can understand certain celebrities being there because of their political views but come on. Lilo and Kim K?

    • littlebells May 1, 2012 at 7:41 PM #

      Well that’s what blew me away and I made my comment about PR. I mean how many of these celebrities actually care about the actual awards and scholarships in journalism? Honestly, even though i think the dinner.can be entertaining, the HW overkill makes it seem a bit of a joke.

      Did u watch the dinner or see clips?

      • parisienne May 1, 2012 at 8:02 PM #

        I’m watching the vid from last year. LOL

        • ozzie20 May 1, 2012 at 9:17 PM #

          I’ll have to remember to watch that one. I’ve only watched Obama’s speech this year, is the rest of it good?

          • Comic Relief May 1, 2012 at 10:31 PM #

            Like Paris, I watched that material too yet I was really sort of saddened by the focus on roasting guests as opposed to actually upholding or promoting the free press or journalism. Washington insiders are such a humor less lot, I’m sure they’re just glad to have some out of town guests who are far less stoggy than they are.

            I’m feeling an editorial moment coming on:

            With the majority of journalistic organizations being centralized within a few organizations, the citizenry should be very concerned about the state of free speech in our democracy.

            • littlebells May 1, 2012 at 10:35 PM #

              You and me both. I would love to have listened to the awards being given and WHY! I want to know what made these journalists so outstanding. I don’t know if they are posted yet on the WHCA.net award page yet, but I know you can read about those who got scholarships this year.

              • Comic Relief May 2, 2012 at 12:57 PM #

                Sorry for missing the discussion.

                It would be really easy to go on a rant about spoiled and attention whorish celebrities yet Washington sponsors this event. Since there is this thing called the “public trust” you would think they would be the first to ask questions about the promotion of cultural decadence during an election year.

                • Comic Relief May 2, 2012 at 12:58 PM #

                  Though it was not my intention, in case that last comment sounded partisan;

                  • Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner (FOX News)[3]

                  I think I said enough.

                • littlebells May 2, 2012 at 9:36 PM #

                  Hi CR!

                  I guess I would love to see a few Joe Schmoes and Jane Smith’s invited to this event. I wish we actually heard about the key reason for the dinner. Until I researched this , I honestly had no idea what the WHCD was about. I thought it was just a bunch of HW and Washington hulabaloos having a jolly old time and airing it on national TV. I didn’t realize there was an actual PURPOSE. I could say it’s ignorance, but when the media only shows you what it wants too…

                  • Comic Relief May 2, 2012 at 10:14 PM #

                    I agree with you. I think you (or someone made the comment earlier) about some celebrities like George Clooney who appeared there with some intention of drawing attention to something worthwhile. I think with all the roasting, the red carpet, and politicians mugging in front of the cameras his actual political agenda was probably drowned out.

  6. parisienne May 1, 2012 at 7:37 PM #

    I mean they should have just thrown in the towel and invited KS for god’s sake.

    • ozzie20 May 1, 2012 at 8:24 PM #

      I don’t think I can post gifs here so I’ll type it as well.


    • littlebells May 1, 2012 at 8:24 PM #

      That would have beenind blowing.

  7. parisienne May 1, 2012 at 7:39 PM #

    what was the most intriguing thing you learned about Washington or the WHCD while researching this piece?

    • Littlebells2 May 1, 2012 at 8:02 PM #

      Honestly, it was the actual mission of the WHCA: honoring those who excel in journalism and giving scholarships to those who are studying in that field. Considering how many pseudo journalists are out there, it gives me hope. I don’t know if we will ever have real journalists in the entertainment field ever again.

      • parisienne May 1, 2012 at 8:03 PM #

        what real journalists in the entertainmenet field?

        • littlebells May 1, 2012 at 8:26 PM #

          Barbara Walters, Dianne Sawyer.I always enjoyed their celebrity interviews.

  8. ozzie20 May 1, 2012 at 8:00 PM #

    Brilliant article LB! At the back of my mind I’ve been aware of these dinners and wondered about them but I just watched Obama’s speech for the first time and my questions bubbled up to the surface again. Most you have answered in the article, others I have forgotten (sorry, really really tired here)!

    My view of them has been that they’re a kind of shiney, shimmery thing. Something cool that over here we don’t do. After finding out that it is inundated with celebrities who have nothing to do with it, it has dulled that image a bit. It’s still cool though because it doesn’t happen here. If it did I suspect it wouldn’t be cool at all, lol!

    There’s more I was going to add too but unfortunately I’ve forgotten that too!

    • littlebells May 1, 2012 at 8:13 PM #

      Hahaha! No worries. 🙂 when ur questions come back PLEASE ASK!

      • ozzie20 May 1, 2012 at 8:26 PM #

        I remembered my question! But it was really lame and answered in your article!

        • littlebells May 1, 2012 at 8:28 PM #

          What did I answer? Haha!

          • ozzie20 May 1, 2012 at 8:45 PM #

            Whether it was an annual thing or not. I know, pretty bad, lol!

  9. parisienne May 1, 2012 at 8:14 PM #

    have to go ladies! ttys!

    • ozzie20 May 1, 2012 at 8:27 PM #

      Bye Paris!

    • littlebells May 1, 2012 at 8:29 PM #

      Bye Paris!

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