I am Once Again Asking the White House Press Corps to Stop Being a Gigantic Embarrassment.
Sorry you didn't get invited to a wedding, I guess?
Alright, let’s get into it. So…
After Vogue’s story went up, Bloomberg Businessweek’s White House correspondent Nancy Cook quote tweeted it, writing, “White House press secretary Karine Jeanne-Pierre on Nov. 18: ‘They have decided to make this wedding private. It is a family event. It is — and we are going to respect Naomi and Peter’s wishes.”
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Ah-ha! If Vogue was allowed there, they caught the White House in a lie! Got ‘em! Right?
Except Vogue wasn’t at the wedding, and anyone who bothered to open the article could see that. The very first image in the piece has the caption “Photographed at the White House on Thursday, November 17, 2022.” The piece even opens with the words, “On the Tuesday evening before her wedding.”
Katie Rogers, The New York Times White House correspondent, chimed in, writing that she “had reporting in Oct[ober] about Vogue being tapped to cover this and I was waved off. Official explanation is that Vogue wasn’t there the day of. Loophole = the family staged a ‘wedding at the WH’ shoot beforehand.”
Okay, but… Vogue wasn’t at the wedding, and Jeanne-Pierre saying on November 18 that the event wasn’t going to be open to the press wasn’t some sort of dodge. Vogue’s photos were taken the day before. Here’s the transcript from the November 18 press briefing:
Question: If I could ask one more about this weekend. Why is the White House going against precedent and not letting any journalists in to cover a bit of this wedding that is taking place here at the People’s House?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, let me just give you a little bit of a wedding tick-tock because I know many of you had some questions.
So, at 11:00 a.m., the ceremony on the South Lawn will begin. A family wedding party luncheon immediately after. And then there will be an evening reception on this very joyous occasion.
These are two young people who have decided that they want
to spend the rest of their life together, and the President and the First Lady are going to be able to participate in their first grandchild’s wedding.
But here’s the thing — and here’s — here’s the reality: The wedding of Naomi Biden and Peter is a private one. The family — it’s a family event. And Naomi and Peter have asked that their wedding be closed to the media, and we are respecting their wishes. This is something that the couple has decided.
So — but understanding you all have interest, understanding that the media has interest in this — which I can understand it is a joyous occasion; we all want to celebrate them — we will be releasing — we will be releasing pictures, photos, and a statement from the President and the First Lady following the ceremony.
Again, this is their wish. And we should be — we should be thrilled and happy for them in making this really important step in their lives.
Moments later, a journalist asked again:
Question: If I could try one more on the White House wedding. As I’m filing on this wedding and previewing it for folks, I’m looking at all of this video and images that we have of Tricia Nixon’s wedding, Alice Roosevelt Longworth’s wedding, the Johnson family’s wedding, and the historic record that now exists because the press was let in and able to get a glimpse of it. Why not just let the press in for a few minutes to have access? And, again, this is a wedding that’s happening here at the People’s House, not at a private residence.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I totally understand it’s happening at the People’s House. It’s a beautiful moment. It’s a joyous moment between these two young — these two young couple who have decided. It is their decision. They have decided to make this wedding private. It is a family event. It is — and we are going to respect Naomi and Peter’s wishes.
This is going to be, you know, the wedding of — of the First Lady and the President’s first grandchild, and these are their wishes. They want it to be private, and we’re going to respect their wishes.
We are going to provide a photo and a statement from the President and the First Lady after the wedding. And, again, these are their wishes, and we’re going to respect that.
I’m not sure if Jean-Pierre was supposed to say, “…but a photographer from Vogue did stop by yesterday” when asked about whether the press would be allowed to cover the event a few days later, but that’s the reality of what happened.
Cook, ever the intrepid journalist, noticed that there was a photo in Vogue’s article of the bride and groom with a wedding cake! “Wonder if that was also shot days before? I have no idea either way, just asking.”
If only there were some way to know the answer to this impossible question! Like, say… looking at the caption!
Corbin Gurkin is one of the private wedding photographers who shot the event, and as the caption plainly states, that was taken on the day of the wedding, itself. Photos from the wedding were taken by Gurkin and John Dolan for Rafanelli Events (the wedding planning company).
At this point, Cook and Rogers should have been embarrassed, issued a quick apology for implying some sort of sinister attempt to freeze the press out of an event while giving exclusive access to Vogue when Vogue wasn’t there on the wedding day, either. But because this is the DC press corps, a collection of some of the most ridiculous and self-centered people on the planet, they didn’t. In fact, other journalists rushed to their defense.
Ashley Parker, The Washington Post’s senior national political correspondent, had the temerity to compare the White House accurately saying that Vogue wasn’t going to be given access to the wedding itself with Trump lying about, say, who won the 2020 presidential election. Totally comparable stuff! 🙃
“I spent four years covering the Trump WH and two years covering the Biden WH. What’s fascinating is that they both lie, albeit in v[ery] different ways,” Parker wrote. “Trump team was shameless, whereas Biden team is too cute by half.”
Parker, you may remember, is the Post journalist who has repeatedly accused Biden of being somehow antagonistic towards democracy on occasions where he would take questions but didn’t call on her. How embarrassing for her.
And, of course, The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman rushed to her colleagues’ defense.
Keep in mind that during the Trump administration, Haberman defended the widespread belief among DC press types that it’s wrong to use the word “lie.”
This is the story of some DC reporters who got upset that they didn’t get invited to a wedding. Nothing more. And naturally, when faced with pushback (such as asking why Cook didn’t bother to read the photo caption), these journalists got even more defensive, arguing that people just don’t understand how journalism works.
Personally, I think it’s bad to hold private events at the White House, but as the reporter asking questions during that November 18 briefing noted, it’s happened a bunch of times in the past. I could go on and on, but really, I just want to point to two tweets that neatly sum up my feelings on this topic: