Well I finally had a chance to see Michelle Wolf's monologue at the White House Correspondence Dinner, and in my not so humble opinion, she should probably consider a new line of work. I wouldn't say Wolf was the worst comedian I ever saw, but she's somewhere between "Knock, knock who's there?" and "Help, help, I've fallen and I can't get up."
But while Wolf's attempt at humor may have been feeble, the overreaction her performance has garnered from the media and political pundits is the sort of stuff that wouldn't make the final cut in a soap opera. To hear some of these people you'd think Wolf went in there with an AR-15 and shot up the place.
Here's my advice for all the aggrieved nellies who were offended: GET A FUCKING LIFE!
Seriously, for the second year in a row the man who lives in the very building for which the dinner is named was too much of a pussy to even attend, and it's the comedian who disgraced the evening? As bad as Wolf was, she's not half as bad as the current administration and its henchmen. And she at least had one moment in which she managed to go where few have dared go before her. That moment came near the end of her monologue when she said the following:
You guys are obsessed with Trump. Did you used to date him? Because you pretend like you hate him, but I think you love him. I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you. He couldn’t sell steaks or vodka or water or college or ties or Eric, but he has helped you. He’s helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster, and now you’re profiting off of him.
Like most of Wolf's material that night it wasn't funny, but then it wasn't supposed to be. In fact, it was deadly serious. Perhaps without quite realizing it, Wolf stumbled upon the real disgrace: that an entire industry which once prided itself on its journalistic heritage, sold out to a megalomaniac for the sake of the almighty dollar. Campbell Brown, a former CNN anchor who couldn't "hack it" in today's cable news environment, wrote the following for Politico months before the election:
I really would like to blame Trump. But everything he is doing is with TV news’ full acquiescence. Trump doesn’t force the networks to show his rallies live rather than do real reporting. Nor does he force anyone to accept his phone calls rather than demand that he do a face-to-face interview that would be a greater risk for him. TV news has largely given Trump editorial control. It is driven by a hunger for ratings—and the people who run the networks and the news channels are only too happy to make that Faustian bargain. Which is why you’ll see endless variations of this banner, one I saw all three cable networks put up in a single day: “Breaking news: Trump speaks for first time since Wisconsin loss.” In all these scenes, the TV reporter just stands there, off camera, essentially useless. The order doesn’t need to be stated. It’s understood in the newsroom: Air the Trump rallies live and uninterrupted. He may say something crazy; he often does, and it’s always great television.Campbell Brown is no comedian, but, like Wolf, she did made a lot of people squirm with her words. And words matter, always, whether from a failed comedic performance or a desperate plea for help. Most of us in this country have spent the last year and a half wondering whether the Founding Fathers might be spinning in their graves at the spectacle that inhabits the Oval Office; one wonders if it ever occurred to the boo birds who showed up that night whether the ghosts of Murrow, Cronkite and Mudd might be doing the same over what has become of their once beloved Fourth Estate.
It is not just the wall-to-wall coverage of Trump. It’s the openness with which some are reveling in his attention. It’s the effort, conscious or not, to domesticate and pretty him up, to make him appear less offensive than he really is, and to practice a false objectivity or equivalence in the coverage. Here, journalism across all platforms—corporate, as well as publicly funded—is guilty.
Lest you think I'm being too harsh, consider this. MSNBC once cut away from an interview with a Congresswoman regarding the NSA to announce that Juston Bieber had been arrested. I'm not making that up; you can check it out for yourself here. Proving it couldn't be outdone, CNN once displayed an image of an empty podium with Trump's name on it for a full 30 minutes. That someone didn't lose their jobs over those stunts is the real breaking news.
You may mock Michelle Wolf all you want, but know this much: she displayed more courage dying up there on that dais for 19 minutes then the bulk of her critics have displayed over the last 19 months covering Trump.