You doubtless remember the huge — some might argue “outsized” — amount of controversy generated by last April’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner, when comedian Michelle Wolf got put on indefinite blast for a joke about White House Press Secretary’s penchant for fudging facts. The White House Correspondent’s Association definitely remembers. So much so that they’re breaking with decades of mostly followed tradition and not bringing a comedian to perform this year.
Instead author Ron Chernow will be giving a talk on the importance of the First Amendment. Chernow is an esteemed American historian whose famed Alexander Hamilton biography inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical. “The White House Correspondents’ Association has asked me to make the case for the First Amendment and I am happy to oblige,” Chernow said in a news release. “Freedom of the press is always a timely subject and this seems like the perfect moment to go back to basics.”
All that to say, Chernow’s definitely a qualified pick, but it’s hard not to sense the WHCA’s cold feet from here. Wolf is the latest in a long line of polarizing cultural presences at these dinners, most famously including Stephen Colbert, who famously grilled President George W. Bush on the War on Terror in 2006.