President of White House Correspondents' Association defends journalism after Trump attacks

White House Correspondents' Association President Margaret Talev denounced attempts made by elected officials to vilify journalism at the association's annual dinner Saturday.

"We reject efforts by anyone, especially our elected leaders, to paint journalism as un-American, to undermine trust between reporter and reader, or to cast doubt on the relevance of fact and truth in the modern age," Talev, a White House correspondent for Bloomberg, said at the gala.

"This really isn’t about the business of protecting journalism as a business," she continued. "In fact, our businesses have all done pretty well in the last couple years. It is about protecting a pillar of American democracy."

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Rove warns Senate GOP: Don't put only focus on base Ann Coulter blasts Trump shutdown compromise: ‘We voted for Trump and got Jeb!’ MORE, an ardent critic of the press, declined to attend the annual dinner and instead traveled to Washington Township, Mich., for a campaign-style rally in which he blasted reporters as "very, very dishonest people."

In Washington, D.C., House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAEI names Robert Doar as new president GOP can't excommunicate King and ignore Trump playing to white supremacy and racism House vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King MORE (R-Wis.) offered praise for the media in a prerecorded message shown at the dinner.

"There’s so much noise out there and our Republic doesn’t work without an informed electorate," Ryan said.

In his message, Ryan called for journalists to challenge elected officials, citing greater transparency and accountability for the public.

Trump has repeatedly derided the media as dishonest, leveling claims that reporters fabricate stories in order to undermine his presidency.