On the Sunday morning following the Saturday night White House Correspondents Dinner, I found the annual event a hot topic of conversation among folks in the apartment complex where I live.
While most people I spoke with thoroughly enjoyed last night's telecast, more than a few grumbled for one or both of two reasons.
One objection concerned the language and subject matter used by President Obama, and host Jimmy Kimmel. "Racy" and "risque" were words used to describe the language; and "inappropriate" was one of the words used to describe the subject matter.
The complainants, from my point of view, are being overly sensitive, and unrealistic. There were no words spoken Saturday that are not heard regularly on radio or television. And the subject matter consisted of topics that are currently discussed openly by the media.
Giving viewers a humorous side to some current events and some of the issues of the day is to provide welcome comedy relief in a world where there is all too often, way too little to laugh about. And, it is important to note that much of the humor was of the self-deprecating kind.
The second objection to last night's White House Correspondents Dinner is the perceived cost to taxpayers for such a lavish event. The sight of the overflow Hilton ballroom conjured up dollar signs for some viewers.
In reality, however, there was, or is, no cost to American taxpayers--absolutely none. The annual dinner is an event that has been put on and paid for by the White House correspondents for 90 some years.
The original reason for the Washington "Prom", as it has come to be known, holds true today--maintain and improve communication between the President and the media, in its various forms.
President Obama acknowledged and endorsed this purpose, as he restated, in a serious moment, the importance to America of a vibrant, free press.
In keeping with its mission, the White House correspondents use proceeds from the dinner to fund journalism scholarships.