President Trump is skipping the White House Correspondents' Dinner for the third consecutive year. He hasn't had the best relationship with the media these past few years, so his no shows have been no surprise. This time, he has an additional reason to stay home: the WHCA just awarded CNN an honorable mention for the Merriman Smith Award in broadcast for their reporting on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's contentious confirmation hearings. Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault by a woman named Christine Blasey Ford.
To the WHCA, CNN's reporting was as pleasant as listening to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
From the judges: CNN’s coverage on the day of the hearings on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was aggressive, relied on deep sourcing and felt like one was watching a symphony. The news-making moments in which Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, was confronted by two women was just a piece of the extensive coverage that followed every angle, all day.
Newsbusters dug up some old research to remind us how often CNN labeled Kavanaugh with the word “rape,” despite the lack of evidence. Chris Cuomo appeared especially determined to smear the judge's character, suggesting that his behavior during the hearings had betrayed his guilt.
“When you're innocent, poise, calm in the face of criticism reflects your power of belief," Cuomo noted. "Losing control suggests something incriminating. Kavanaugh is who he was in that hearing for better or worse.”
Months earlier, the WHCA sided with CNN in a lawsuit accusing the Trump White House of suppressing their First Amendment rights.
"He does not have absolute discretion to exclude a member of the press from the White House," the group wrote in an amicus brief.
The administration had temporarily revoked CNN correspondent Jim Acosta's White House access this fall after he got into an argument with a White House staffer. Trump argued that Acosta had physically harmed the young woman while trying to push her arm away.
Last year's White House Correspondents' Dinner featured a shameful monologue from comedian Michelle Wolf targeted at White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. After the ensuing scandal, the WHCA chose a more innocuous keynote speaker for this year's dinner, biographer Ron Chernow. In his speech, Chernow is expected to "make the case for the First Amendment."