Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
May 1, 2016

Correspondents’ Dinner: Champagne Days in DC, Apparently

Brittany Prime (left) and Will Rabbe pose for pictures in the 360 Glam Cam at the MSNBC After Party at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC, for pictures that provide a matrix-like 360 degree rotating view of the subjects frozen in time.Photo by M. Scott Brauer for MSNBC

I don’t know if the party planners deserve the credit or M. Scott Brauer for his photographs. Either way, these images of the MSNBC party as part of the White House Correspondents Dinner/weekend/bacchanal make it seem like these are champagne days in Washington. (The flute and confetti read New Year’s Eve.)  If, in the rest of the world, parties are for celebrating something, in Washington that thing seems like entropy

Who knows how these photos are going to look down the road. (I assume the left-leaning MSNBC hired the more satirical Brauer to make light of it’s own indulgence.) The net is a sarcastic edge. And that’s especially true when you compare the tone to both Obama’s speech/parting shot and host Larry Wilmore’s monologue at the correspondents’ dinner itself. (Maybe this is where I also mention and congratulate the New York Times for the integrity not to participate in this incestuous exercise between government celebrities, journalism celebrities and, yeah, Hollywood stars.) As much as the cheesy photoshops were designed to cover it, Obama’s humor was caustic and incredulous, blaming the opposition for pettiness and gridlock, and the press for enabling Trump to the doorstep of the nomination. Among other things.

Attendees go through security as they arrive at the MSNBC After Party following the annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner, April 30, 2016. Photo by M. Scott Brauer for MSNBC

But that’s enough riffing on the champagne and the glitter. I like the second photo because of the submission. Of course, security is a fact of life these days – especially in instances where the rich, famous, beautiful and powerful not only commingle but flaunt, tweet and Gram it like hell. With all the indulgence, the payoff here is the tiniest example where the people whose lives are synonymous with access have to put up with even the slightest inconvenience.

People gather at the MSNBC After Party at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC. NeNe Leakes, of The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Glee, is seen in the lower left with blonde hair. The party followed the annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner on Saturday, April 30, 2016. The party continued until about 3 AM on Sunday, May 1, 2016.

Finally, let’s note where Wilmore generously, and Obama liberally, spent time on Saturday night. Certainly, you won’t read much about the racial commentary, or Wilmore’s black man-to-black man vernacular from most of the journalists and news organizations populating that audience. In the conversation was the hardly-veiled snark.There were inferences about how black Obama really got to be. And there was also regret and wistfulness about America’s first black president signing off. Looking at this last picture, I thought about how much Obama brought pride, community engagement and greater diversity (including, yes, a more diverse elite) to the White House and the government. Going forward, it’s a very real question if we’ll see the same ratio.

(photos: M. Scott Brauer for MSNBC caption 1: Brittany Prime (left) and Will Rabbe pose for pictures in the 360 Glam Cam at the MSNBC After Party at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC, for pictures that provide a matrix-like 360 degree rotating view of the subjects frozen in time.caption 2: Attendees go through security as they arrive at the MSNBC After Party following the annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner. caption 3: NeNe Leakes, of The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Glee, is seen in the lower left, at the MSNBC White House Correspondents Association Dinner after party, April 30, 2016.)

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