Two months out, White House Correspondents' dinner parties getting the ax
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The party scene is looking lighter once again around this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner, with several outlets already revealing plans to skip their annual shindigs.

With two months before the April 28 dinner, ITK has learned that, for the second year in a row, People and Time magazines are saying sayonara to their traditional, celeb-filled Correspondents’ soiree.

The news organizations also canceled their joint party last year, amid a flurry of entertainers deciding to pass on the first WHCA dinner of the Trump administration.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points MORE — who has called “fake news” the “enemy of the people” — famously broke tradition and skipped last year’s dinner, opting to instead hold a rally in Pennsylvania. The White House said recently no decision has been made regarding the president’s attendance at this year’s dinner.

The annual gathering at the Washington Hilton, attended by a who’s who of journalists, lawmakers and celebrities, raises money for journalism scholarships.


“Over the past few years, you’ve definitely seen the dinner and the events around it consistently lose a little luster,” says journalist-turned-filmmaker Patrick Gavin. Part of the reason for that, according to Gavin, is “the curtain has been pulled back a bit and people see the events for what they really are, which is a pretty unbecoming orgy of self-celebration, unworthy of our nation’s capital.”

“I don’t know if they’ll ever be able to put that cat back in that bag — and that’s a good thing,” says Gavin, who created “Nerd Prom,” a 2015 documentary about the WHCA dinner that used the soiree’s nickname as its title. “I also think that any joy has been sucked out of our politics as it’s become more polarized and ugly,” Gavin adds. “More and more, Washington has become a morose and somber place, which makes it all the more difficult to muster up the energy to throw a party in our honor.”

TBS host Samantha Bee made headlines last year when she hosted her TV special, “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” in D.C. the same day as the real event — but she won’t be returning for a second round.

A spokeswoman for The New Yorker confirmed to ITK that its uber-exclusive affair is also a no-go this year. The magazine scrapped its Nerd Prom party last year as well.

Vanity Fair is also nixing party plans again this year, a publicist confirmed.

Graydon Carter, the magazine’s then-editor, told The New York Times last year that the reason behind the cancellation was “Trump” and “the fish.”

Other outlets, including The Hill, have yet to announce the status of their WHCA dinner functions.

But not everyone is ready to write off the Correspondents’ social scene.

CNN is still planning on hosting its brunch held annually during the weekend of Nerd Prom. A CNN spokesman tells ITK this year’s event, which in past years has been called the “Political Hangover Brunch,” will be “big and better than ever.”

Susanna Quinn, a veteran of the Washington party circuit and founder of the on-demand beauty and fitness app Veluxe, says it’s game on for an annual bash she co-hosts along with Eric Kuhn, Allen Gannett and John McCarthy. Quinn says more intimate events during Correspondents’ weekend, such as her “Bytes and Bylines” party, are still “coveted invites.”

But, she conceded, unlike past years when the focus in Washington was on the A-list talent and VIP after-parties, not as many folks are buzzing about another potentially presidentless Correspondents’ dinner.