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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com.

Reporters who cover the Trump administration were instead defending it — and specifically press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — Saturday night. But their efforts resulted in justified backlash.

At the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, comedian Michelle Wolf delivered a wide-ranging roast that included 90 seconds of material on Sanders.

The bit drew harsh criticism from ostensibly objective journalists, particularly a joke about Sanders’ penchant for dishonesty.

“I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful,” Wolf said. “Like, she burns facts, and then she uses the ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she’s born with it; maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”

Wolf went on to muse about what to call Sanders. “Like, what’s Uncle Tom but for white women who disappoint other white women?” Wolf asked. “Oh, I know: Aunt Coulter.”

The jokes were relatively mild, but they still drew condemnation from a number of journalists.

Maggie Haberman of The New York Times praised Sanders for not walking out on the dinner. She accused Wolf of attacking Sanders’ physical appearance, when the joke was actually skewering her propensity for dishonesty. When asked on Twitter to quote the lines to which she was referring, Haberman didn’t answer and unfollowed the questioner.

Other prominent reporters and media figures joined Haberman in defending Sanders, which resulted in a blizzard of backlash, including from Wolf herself.

Michelle Wolf

@michelleisawolf

Hey mags! All these jokes were about her despicable behavior. Sounds like you have some thoughts about her looks though? 😘https://twitter.com/maggienyt/status/990428993542414336 

Michelle Wolf

@michelleisawolf

Why are you guys making this about Sarah’s looks? I said she burns facts and uses the ash to create a *perfect* smoky eye. I complimented her eye makeup and her ingenuity of materials. https://twitter.com/morningmika/status/990585968825597954 

On Sunday morning’s “AM Joy,” panelist Tiffany Cross called out the media for this behavior.

“It’s a lot of unfairness to the American people when Sarah Huckabee Sanders stands at that podium every day and spits out lies,” Cross noted. And she made it quite clear where the disgust should be directed.

“If you were made to feel uncomfortable by Michelle Wolf making fun of the actual words that the president had said, and actual things that people in this administration have done but you weren’t uncomfortable by the president calling Nazis good people, you weren’t uncomfortable by the president talking about grabbing women by their private parts, you weren’t uncomfortable by the president putting our very democracy in danger, then you need to check your hypocrisy and your privilege.”

Sanders lies to the press with stunning regularity, and viciously attacks those reporters who do their jobs by calling her out and standing up to Trump.

Even as members of the media were defending her lies, Trump was a few hundred miles away accusing them of hating Americans.

Taking sides with this administration against a few harmless jokes is a very odd choice for reporters in the Trump era.