Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Michelle Wolf

"It's not a coincidence that the two speeches that most offended the delicate D.C. press corps—Colbert's in 2006 and Michelle Wolf's—contained scathing and wholly accurate mockery of the press itself," noted The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald. (Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

'Pathetic': To Shield Elites From Deserved Ridicule, WHCA Apologizes for Michelle Wolf's Epic Performance

"To many in the U.S. media, the worst sins aren't bombing and killing people or embracing policies that cause mass suffering...The worst sin remains: breaching civility protocols [that] protect D.C. elites."

Jake Johnson

In the eyes of D.C. media elites, jokes about murderous drone strikes and a war that killed over a million Iraqis fall well within the boundaries of civility, but humor that targets the powerful is completely unacceptable.

That was the message many journalists and critics took from the White House Correspondents' Association's (WHCA) "pathetic" statement Sunday night apologizing for the performance of comedian Michelle Wolf, who pilloried the incompetence of Democrats, railed against the lies of the Trump administration, and spoke uncomfortable truths about the corporate media's complicity in the president's ascent to power.

"Pathetic to see WHCA cave in and attack the comedian they hired to roast an administration led by a guy who bragged about sexual assault, talked about shooting Muslims with bullets dipped in pig blood, and attacked the free press on a daily basis."
—Christian Christensen

According to WHCA—which positions itself as a defender of free speech—Wolf's 20-minute routine amounted to an intolerable breach of civil discourse, which apparently prohibits criticism that might offend those in positions of immense power and influence, like White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

"Last night's program was meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility, great reporting, and scholarship winners, not to divide people," the WHCA said in a statement posted to Twitter Sunday night, following a full day of constant outrage and hand-wringing about Wolf's performance from prominent access journalists. "Unfortunately, the entertainer's monologue was not in the spirit of that mission."

WHCA's statement was immediately decried as an "embarrassment" that demonstrates the organization is more interested in facilitating "chumminess" between the White House and the media than a "vigorous and free press."

While Wolf's attacks on the barrage of lies Sanders unleashes on an almost daily basis were viewed as scandalous by many of those being lied to, perhaps the most scathing component of Wolf's performance was her attack on the corporate media outlets, who she accused of using Trump to bolster their bottom lines.

"He couldn't sell steaks or vodka or water or college or ties or Eric. But he has helped you," Wolf said. "He's helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster and now you're profiting off of him."

"It's not a coincidence that the two speeches that most offended the delicate D.C. press corps—Colbert's in 2006 and Michelle Wolf's—contained scathing and wholly accurate mockery of the press itself," The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald noted in a tweet on Monday. "Their anger at mean insults towards politicians is also real but secondary."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.


'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·

Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·

'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·

'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·

80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo