By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – They had the annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner once again in D.C. this weekend, complete with dozens of lavish parties attended by B, C, and D-list celebrities along with that E-list of celebrities, other journalists.

And as usual, the pride of Newton, Mass., New York Times columnist and “This Town” author Mark Leibovich is right on point with his description of the entire weekend as “an abomination.”

Notes Leibovich: “We have to ask ourselves – what are we celebrating exactly?”

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Certainly not the opportunity to see the President of the United States crack a series of not-really-funny jokes about the health-care website debacle, including: “In 2008, my slogan was ‘Yes we can.’ In 2013, my slogan was control-alt-delete.”


But there is a partial answer to Leibovich’s question.

For a few minutes during the dinner, the Correspondents Association celebrated the life of Harry McAlpin, who broke the color line in White House press conferences in 1944 by showing up without the blessing of the bigots who ran the association back then.

Then-President Roosevelt did the right thing by inviting McAlpin in (even though he was told by the insiders to stay out and accept their second-hand notes), but it was McAlpin’s persistence and courage that forced his hand.

Imagine that – a White House reporter, refusing to accept handouts in place of direct questioning, standing up to power and the status quo.

You see that in the modern-day press corps every once in awhile.

If we saw it all the time, maybe there really would be something worth celebrating at that dinner.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.



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