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10 Times CNN Was Butt of Correspondents’ Dinner Jokes

White House: President's quips were merely 'in good fun'

Comedian Larry Wilmore speaks during the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner on Saturday night. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Comedian Larry Wilmore speaks during the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner on Saturday night. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

Ah, those White House Correspondents’ Dinner weekend traditions: brunches, parties, networking, Hollywood stars, Tammy Haddad — and jokes at CNN’s expense.  

When a reporter from the network asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest about President Barack Obama’s latest #WHCD jab, he shot back: “Don’t tell me you guys get all sensitive!”  

He added that Obama does not really think CNN has a problem with its journalistic integrity, though the president quipped that media A-lister Jake Tapper, who signed on at the cable news network, did the equivalent of leaving the news business.  

Here are a few of the choices insults against the venerable news network. Getting (Too?) Personal “I should say some of America’s finest black journalists are here tonight. Don Lemon’s here, too. Hey, Don, how’s it going? Alleged journalist Don Lemon, everybody.” –Comedian and “Comedy Central” talk show host Larry Wilmore, 2016  

‘Real News’ “Now have you watched the news? Not CNN, I mean, like, the real news .” –Comedian and actor Joel McHale, 2014  

‘Left Journalism’ “Key staff are now starting to leave the White House. Even reporters have left me. Savannah Guthrie, she has left the White House press corps to host the ‘Today’ show. Norah O’Donnell left the briefing room to host ‘CBS This Morning.’ Jake Tapper left journalism to join CNN.” –Obama, 2016  

Dignity Dinged “And CNN is desperately searching for something they’ve been missing for months — their dignity.” –McHale, 2014  

Not-So-Friendly Advice “By the way, during the Boston coverage on MSNBC last week, Chuck Todd stopped a pundit from speculating on unverified information. There’s no joke here. I’m just letting the people at CNN know that you can do that.” –Talk show host Conan O’Brien, 2013  

‘Impersonating Journalists’ “I want to thank our host for the evening, a Chicago girl, the incredibly talented Cecily Strong. On Saturday Night Live, Cecily impersonates CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin, which is surprising, because usually the only people impersonating journalists on CNN are journalists on CNN.” –Obama, 2015  

Final Countdown? “I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t get enough of that CNN countdown clock. Now we can see exactly when they hit zero in the ratings.” –Wilmore, 2016  

[Related: Hopping Through White House Correspondents Dinner]
Pounding Piers “At this point, CNN is like the RadioShack in a strip mall. You don’t know how it stayed in business this long, you don’t know anyone who shops there — and they just fired Piers Morgan.” –McHale, 2014  

Ratings Roasted “It gets worse. CNN’s ratings are so low, now when the logo comes up James Earl Jones says, ‘You’re watching CNN? What the hell?’” –O’Brien, 2013  

Cleaning House “Also tonight, some of the big names in television news, when it comes to television news we have a divided media landscape, OK? Fox News is watched by conservatives. MSNBC is watched by liberals and CNN is watched by the people who clean the offices at CNN.” –O’Brien, 2013  

Contact Bennett at Follow him on Twitter @BennettJohnT.

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