Biden champions press freedom and jokes about age at Correspondents’ Dinner 10:57 in Abroad , Culture & Media Prior to the media gala, Biden spoke with the family of Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained in Russia since March.

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Biden at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner
NOS News

President Biden has used the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner to champion press freedom. The 80-year-old president poked fun at his advanced age, but said he was also there to make an important point. “We are here with a message for the country and the world: the free press is a pillar – perhaps the pillar – of a free society, not the enemy.”

Before the media gala, in which the press and politicians traditionally poke fun at themselves and each other, Biden and his wife Jill spoke with the parents of Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained in Russia since March. The authorities there accuse him of espionage, so far without providing any evidence. His family, newspaper and the Biden administration reject that accusation and speak of a political process.

“Everyone here supports you,” Biden addressed the family of the imprisoned reporter at the beginning of his speech. “We work hard every day to get him released. We keep hope,” he told the audience, where many in attendance wore pins that read “Free Evan.”

‘Contemporary of James Madison’

In addition to Gershkovich’s family, journalist Austin Tice’s mother was also in the audience. That reporter disappeared without a trace in Syria eleven years ago, but the American intelligence services believe he is still alive.

“Journalism is not a crime. Evan and Austin must be released immediately, as must all Americans trapped abroad,” Biden said. “I promise you, we’re working hard to get them home.” He also addressed basketball star Brittney Griner, who was released after ten months in a Russian cell in a prisoner exchange between Russia and the US. “Last year around this time we were still praying for you.”

Biden’s plea for press freedom turned out to be a bridge to jokes about his age. “I believe in the First Amendment,” he said, referring to the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech. “And that’s not just because my good friend Jimmy Madison wrote it,” Biden joked, referring to one of the founders of the US, former president James Madison, who died in 1836.

Fox News defamation case

The huge million-million settlement of TV channel Fox News in the defamation case of voting computer company Dominion was also discussed. “Last year your favorite Fox News reporters were here because they were fully vaccinated, this year they’re there because after that $787 million settlement they can’t turn down a free meal.”

Without naming names, Biden further lashed out at news outlets that “tell lies for profit and power”. “Lies, conspiracies and malice, repeated over and over to provoke anger, hatred and even violence,” Biden said.

While he did not mention Fox News’ spreading conspiracy theories about voter fraud, he lashed out at the news channel one last time. “If I called Fox News fair, balanced and truthful, I could be sued for defamation,” he joked, again referring to the voting computer company’s defamation case.

  • Fox News cuts ties with host Tucker Carlson
  • Fox News settles defamation case: channel pays more than 780 million dollars
  • Journalist Gershkovich remains in Russian cell, also new case against Navalny
  • Abroad

  • Culture & Media

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