Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents Association, kicked off the White House Correspondents Dinner by saying they cannot ignore President Donald Trump’s anti-media rhetoric and added that the media are “not the enemy of the American people.”
Trump, who previously said that he would skip the dinner, held a campaign-like rally instead in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to mark his 100th day in the Oval Office.
Mason, a White House correspondent for Reuters, said “It is our job to report on facts and to hold leaders accountable. That is who we are. We are not fake news,” which drew an applause from the crowd.
Tension between the White House and the news media has been a stamp of the early days of the Trump administration.
The president, who has routinely lambasted news organizations as “fake news,” began his remarks to the crowd in Harrisburg with a lengthy attack on the press while mocking the black-tie dinner as “very, very boring.”
The dinner, which originally aims to raise money for journalism scholarships, has attracted national attention because of A-list celebrities attending the event.
The Gateway Pundit reports:
Mason used Trump’s own words to reject Trump’s criticisms of the press and received a standing ovation from the several thousand attendees at the black tie dinner held at the Washington Hilton, located a mile or so north of the White House in Northwest Washington, D.C.
Mason also warned that press freedoms are under threat in the U.S., implying that Trump was to blame.