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The Times
  • Kent Bush: They call the Correspondents' Dinner 'nerd prom'

  • The annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner is one of the most unusual events in the free world. I’m sure in Iran and China they do some pretty freaky stuff that they don’t let us in on. But as events go, this is one of the weirdest we get access to each year.

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  • The annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner is one of the most unusual events in the free world.
    I’m sure in Iran and China they do some pretty freaky stuff that they don’t let us in on. But as events go, this is one of the weirdest we get access to each year.
    First, it is an event featuring stars from the entertainment industry and politics intermingling –– think Greta Van Susteren sitting at a table with Lindsay Lohan.
    The media members who attend like to refer to it as the “nerd prom” because politicians think that taking a little shot at the event will somehow make up for the fact that they fawn over all of the celebrities and pose for photos with them.
    It’s nerd prom. They are supposed to act this way. I don’t buy it. I’m sure it’s fun and all, but it isn’t exactly conduct that restores dignity and credibility to the profession.
    The leader of the free world doing comedy followed by a comedian doing comedy also feels weird. I can see why a president would do it –– it gives him a chance to show a lighter side to voters. It gives him a chance to take some “good-natured” pot shots at opponents. And it lets him own the negative stories about himself.
    “What is the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?” Obama asked, setting up a punch line. “A pit bull is delicious.”
    See, the fact that he ate a dog in Indonesia isn’t scandalous. It’s hilarious. We all laugh, and a potential campaign fire is put out. And it is all covered live on C-SPAN.
    Watching red carpet coverage on the same network that shows representatives and senators yielding the remainder of their debate time on matters of national security is odd to say the least.
    The only thing that could seem more out of place is Ryan Seacrest covering an election that wasn’t for top karaoke singer in America. But in a world where up is turning down and black is becoming white, Seacrest will be doing exactly that. He has done such a great job on E! News each week that NBC decided he would be just as good doing actual news.
    I can see it now. Spotlights are spinning around with disco balls inexplicably hanging in the NBC news set. Seacrest is seen on stage with President Barack Obama and Joe Biden as well as Mitt Romney and whoever loses a bet and has to be his running mate. The cameras spin around and finally focus on the tiny little reporter who delivers the news.
    “We have the results in from Ohio,” Seacrest beams. “One of the swing states that will decide who will be the next winner of “American Idol”… excuse me, American president. And the winner of Ohio is… going to be announced after this message from Ford.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Since “American Idol” first began making people think some of these people had talent, there had been disgusted columnists saying things like, “More people vote for ‘American Idol’ than for the president.”
    NBC decided to take a chance. Two birds, one stone. Maybe more people will vote knowing that Seacrest is announcing the results.
    Obama has proven during his time in the Oval Office that he is able to sing a little Al Green, tell a few jokes and oversee the killing of the world’s top terrorist all in a period of about 48 hours.
    Romney will have to really bring his A-game if he wants Seacrest to call his name Nov. 6.

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