The reaction to Michelle Wolf is even weirder than I thought.

FULL disclosure: I have never been to a White House Correspondents’ Dinner; I will never go to a White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The American political press already has a bias toward reverence and access preservation; journalists yukking it up with powerful people whom they are supposed to cover impartially is unseemly. Partly for this reason, The Economist has for several years not sent anyone along.

Neither has the Times, since 2008. It’s true: journalists yukking it up with powerful people whom they are supposed to cover impartially is unseemly…and quite likely to be corrupt as well, at least unconsciously.

Over the past two days Washington has worked itself into a tizzy over Michelle Wolf’s unusually scathing monologue…

Matt Schlapp, a conservative lobbyist and the husband of Mercedes Schlapp, a White House communications director, tweeted that he and his wife “walked out early from the wh correspondents dinner. Enough of elites mocking all of us”—though precisely what definition of “elite” includes a stand-up comic but excludes high-ranking White House officials remains unclear.

Understated. In reality it’s grotesque for a conservative lobbyist (with ties to the Koch brothers by the way) and a White House communications director to complain about being mocked by “elites” in the form of a woman standup comic. The Schlapps are the elite in this equation.

Mrs Schlapp told a reporter that “journalists should not be the ones to say that the president or his spokesman is lying.”

Say…what? Journalists are exactly the ones to say that the president or his spokesperson is lying. It’s their job to do that and it’s also their social role to do that – they’re the fifth estate. If they don’t say it how can anyone else say it? We have to know it before we can say it, and how can we know it if journalists don’t do the work to find it out and then report it?

Ms Talev invited Mrs Sanders to sit at the head table because she “thought it sent an important decision about…government and the press being able to work together.”

Ohhhhhhh ffs – that’s not what the press is supposed to be doing.

But of course, that is precisely what should never happen, particularly with an administration as ambivalent about the First Amendment—among other norms and laws—as this one. (The Justice Department recently removed a section entitled “Need for Free Press and Public Trial” from its internal manual for federal prosecutors.)

Free press shmee press, knowwhatimean?

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