The media was both a prime target and a subject of praise for President Barack Obama during his speech at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner on Saturday, as he took shots at the press while praising it for its coverage of a recent flurry of news.
Obama took a dig at CNN for its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, when it erroneously reported that authorities had a suspect in custody.
“I know CNN has taken some knocks lately, but the fact is I admire their commitment to cover all sides of a story, just in case one of them happens to be accurate,” Obama quipped.
He also slammed Fox News when referencing the History Channel miniseries “The Bible,” which depicted the character Satan looking oddly like Obama.
“The History Channel is not here,” Obama said. “I guess they were embarrassed about the whole Obama-is-a-devil thing. Of course, that never kept Fox News from showing up. They actually thought the comparison was not fair — to Satan.”
The left-leaning MSNBC, meanwhile, wasn’t left off Obama’s list of targets, as he playfully hit them for their stance.
“Some of my former advisors have switched over to the dark side. For example, David Axelrod now works for MSNBC, which is a nice change of pace since MSNBC used to work for David Axelrod,” he said.
Shifting to a more serious tone near the speech’s end, though, Obama commended the press for its coverage of a recent swath of major news events — including the Boston Marathon bombings and the fertiliser plant explosion in West, Texas.
In particular, he gave shoutouts to the Boston Globe and to NBC reporter Pete Williams for their coverage in Boston.
“If anyone wonders, for example, whether newspapers are a thing of the past, all you needed to do was to pick up or log on to papers like the Boston Globe,” he said.
“When their communities and the wider world needed them most, they were there making sense of events that might at first blush seem beyond our comprehension. And that’s what great journalism is, and that’s what great journalists do. And that’s why, for example, Pete Williams’ new nickname around the NBC newsroom is ‘Big Papi.'”