Bacon Brothers jam as Huckabee Sanders mingles with network reporters
© Niall Stanage

White House press office representatives and network reporters mingled amicably on Friday night, ahead of the White House correspondents' dinner.

It was a family affair as actor Kevin Bacon and brother Michael Bacon headlined the White House Correspondents’ Jam at The Hamilton in downtown Washington. 

The Bacon Brothers have played music together as a working band for almost a quarter century, Kevin Bacon noted from the stage. On Friday night, their set saw the worlds of Hollywood, politics and media clashing in unexpected ways. 

As the brothers held much of the crowd rapt, other heads were turned in the direction of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, who posed amiably for photos together.


Sanders was also spotted chatting with “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, who was the biggest media name to take the stage to show off his musical chops.

Holt’s bass-playing held down the groove for The Rough Cuts, whose set began with an impressive take on The Band’s classic “The Weight” and included an equally potent version of The Rolling Stones’s stalwart “Gimme Shelter.”

The Stones’s music ran through the evening — no accident given that the event is largely the brainchild of Chuck Leavell, who has been the primary keyboard player on the legendary band's tours since the 1980s. On Friday, he sat in with all the acts.

The White House Correspondents’ Jam is hosted by Leavell’s environment-focused Mother Nature Network in conjunction with Southern Company, Horton’s Kids and the Artists & Athletes Alliance.

The Bacon Brothers and The Rough Cuts were preceded by three other acts in which journalists put their best musical feet forward.

The Mooncussers were built around CNBC’s senior economics reporter Steve Liesman. The Six Stars flew the flag for The Wall Street Journal, with senior editor Mike Siconolfi acting as the lynchpin and media reporter Keach Hagey starring on vocals; and Suspicious Package featured Washington Post Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Tom Toles.

In addition to Sanders, other White House aides in attendance included two of her press deputies, Lindsay Walters and Hogan Gidley.

John Roberts, Fox News's chief White House correspondent, kept the event running smoothly as emcee.

Among the other media figures present were Kyra Phillips of ABC News; Harris Faulkner of Fox News; John Harwood of CNBC; Josh Dawsey, Anne Gearan and David Nakamura, all of The Washington Post; Nkechi Nneji of MSNBC’s “Hardball”; The Daily Mail’s Francesca Chambers; and Gabby Morrongiello of the Washington Examiner.