Report from Last Night's National Press Foundation Annual Awards Dinner
Washington Hilton (a.k.a. "the Hinkley Hilton"), black tie. Tables $3,000-$10,000 a pop.
7:00PM: There are a lot of old people here.
7:30PM: Wolf Blitzer! Very short.
7:45PM: We're sitting thisclose to the Fox News table. Shepard Smith: sort of homely in person. Fred Barnes must wear makeup all the time. Carl Cameron (tall!), the Fox News Sunday guy also there. No one brought a lady friend, looks like. . . except Smith.
7:46PM: Oops, National Anthem! (Fox guys sing the loudest.)
8:00PM: First award -- for Online Journalism -- goes to NYTimes.com. (Edgy!) Guy starts the acceptance speech by referring to the controversy as to whether he'd actually been present in the newsroom, "but today the New York Times released over 300 documents. . . " Hey, it's media elite humor! Will there be a reference to dental records? Wait for it. . . There! LOL. (Fox guys not amused.)
8:02PM: Speech turns serious. "We cannot cede online journalism to the gossip mongers. . . to those who would pass off rumor as truth." No mention of names -- weird. Who could he be talking about?
8:10PM: Candy Crowley of CNN and John Cochran of Congressional Quarterly get the Everett McKinley Dirksen Awards. (Who?) Candy's cute. Talks about her piece on congressmen "who served" . . . Fox guys clearly restraining the urge to sing the National Anthem again.
8:30PM: FOOD. Risotto: okay. Fish: bland. Wine: free. More, please.
8:45PM: Editorial cartooning award to feminist lady who draws for Women's eNews. Wisely avoids speech, does slide show. Mild gasps when she shows cartoon of woman on Ob-Gyn table with two cameras labeled "Justice Dept." pointed at her hoo-ha. (Hoo-ha itself not visible.) Gasps, then laughs. Except from the Fox guys. Very, very not amused. Stern faces. (They're only here because Brit Hume's getting an award later. Ohhhh, he's gonna owe them. . . )
9:00PM: Award to old guy from Newsday. Something about newsrooms, quality, integrity. . . wine? More wine?
9:01PM: Must pee.
9:10PM: Award to old guy named "Bill Bradlee." Sounds vaguely familiar.
9:30PM: Brit Hume. Fox guys already have coat check tickets in hand.