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April 24, 2019

The Very Honest Jake Tapper and Brian Stelter: The Main Point of the White House Correspondent's Dinner is Fundraising for Scholarships
Actual Financial Disclosures from the WHCA: No It's Not About Fundraising for Scholarships

The worst tribalist hacks in the "news" racket, and that's saying something:

But the black-tie dinner is not fundamentally about comedy acts or partisan politics -- it is a fundraiser and awards event that acknowledges the role of the free press and allows journalists to schmooze with sources and each other.

Let's check the actual facts, FakeTapper:

From Money magazine, April 29, 2016:

Lost in the levity may be a major reason the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner is supposedly held at all: to raise money for college scholarships.

As the event has grown in glitz and glamour, its role as a fundraiser to support aspiring journalists has faded.

The dinner, hosted by the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA), spent nearly 60% of its revenue on scholarships in 2009, according to an audit of its financial records by the Washingtonian. That dropped to just 26% in 2013, and then fell again in 2014 to 21.5%, the Washingtonian found.

This year, the association will award about $77,500 to 18 students, the WHCA announced last week. Most awards are worth $5,000--not an insignificant sum for an individual college student. But that's small change compared to the incredible amount of money spent on and around what's been dubbed D.C.'s Nerd Prom.

...

After being called out for its small-by-comparison scholarship activities, the association has defended itself by saying that it is not a scholarship organization. Instead, its primary mission is to advocate for openness and transparency at the White House by bargaining for access to events the press pool, for example. The WHCA also told the Washingtonian that it recently started putting some of its scholarship money aside in an endowment to fund future awards, which explains the decrease in current award dollars.

That very well may be, yet the association states on its homepage that proceeds of the dinner "go toward scholarships and awards that recognize aspiring and accomplished journalists."

And here's an update from the Washingtonian in April, 2017:

The organization spent $86,550 on scholarships in 2015--the exact same amount it spent in 2014. Put another way, the WHCA spent 23.6 percent of its revenue on scholarships in 2015. While that's up from the 21.5 percent in 2014, it's down dramatically from 2009, when the organization spent nearly 60 percent of its total revenue on scholarships.

Another update from Breitbart, May 2018:

At just 12.9 percent of its estimated revenue, the WHCA's 2016 scholarship payout was down from the 21.5 percent spent in 2014, which was also down from 26 percent in 2013 and nearly 60 percent in 2009, according to the Washingtonian.

...

In a statement on its website, the WHCA says it will give $134,500 to students this year. So far, 26 recipients have received $112,000. While additional details about the WHCA's 2018 finances are, for now, unavailable, some reports estimate attendance this year was around 3,000. At $300 a seat, and thus, an approximate revenue of $900,000, an estimate for the association's scholarship payout in 2018 would be roughly 15 percent.

The Columbia Journalism Review reported last year that the WHCA defended its paltry spending on the "scholarships" it promoted itself as collecting money for by dismissing that boast as "old language:"

When asked if the focus on the dinner was the student scholarships, Thomma says the website’s description was "old language": "It has to be absolutely clear: the annual dinner raises money for all of our expenses. It finances not just the the scholarships but also our operating expenses."

The "Nerd Prom" is indeed about fundraising -- but primarily the fundraising for itself, for the WHCA's expenses, which includes, centrally, the big expensive party it throws itself every year.

Now that Fake Tapper's recollection has been refreshed, would this unbiased, fact-based reporter like to revise his claim that the WHCA isn't "fundamentally" about a swank party and partisan attacks but rather about fundraising?

The fundraising is "fundamentally" for a swank party and partisan attacks, with a small amount of tithing to scholarships so that people can pretend they're doing something noble while they're ejaculating validation on each other's backs.



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posted by Ace of Spades at 03:40 PM

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