From Byron York at Washington Examiner:
The self-celebration began with a video in which past players in the White House-press nexus stressed the importance of cherishing and protecting the role of journalists. It continued with the remarks of Jeff Mason, the Reuters correspondent who is this year’s president of the Correspondents’ Association, and continued further with a rare joint appearance by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and continued further with the announcement of this year’s journalism awards, and continued further with the awarding of scholarships to aspiring journalists, and continued further…well, it simply never stopped.
Mason’s remarks managed to be both self-congratulating and defiant, and at the same time proof that Trump is living rent-free in the White House Correspondents’ Association’s collective heads. For many years, the dinner has been almost entirely about the president. This year, with Trump absent, the Association tried mightily to make the dinner about freedom of the press, about the value of journalism, about the First Amendment — the big banner behind the podium read CELEBRATING THE FIRST AMENDMENT. But the fact was, the dinner was still all about the president. It was just about a president who wasn’t there.More.
Reality Check: He does not need to be there. The things that matter do not include those people at the levels they used to.
See also:SNL couldn’t really joke re Obama. He is their Jesus. And those are Big Shoes to Fill.