CNN dedicated no less than six hours to its White House Correspondents' Dinner coverage on Saturday night, and the reviews weren't a whole lot better than the network's widely-panned MH370 coverage. Primetime anchor Don Lemon led the coverage with important anecdotes about how he had a hard time recognizing who was who at the event, showing off the cue cards he was using to identify celebrities during CNN's extensive red-carpet coverage. The network bizarrely brought on actor Michael Torpey, most recognizable from Chase Freedom's ads, and former conservative speechwriter (and current boring curmudgeon) Ben Stein to help interpret the evening's best jokes. (Spoiler: Stein thought they were mean, unfunny, and uncomfortable. We'd mostly disagree.)
Here is a sampling of Stein's contributions to the evening:
How long is it going to be before they have marijuana smoking at this dinner?
Yuk yuk. Good one, Ben Stein.
Lemon and the other CNN correspondents — the ones who weren't enjoying the dinner, anyway — supplied often-painful commentary throughout the night. During the dinner, they asked each other more than once who was seated among the dignitaries on the dais at the front of the room. No one had any idea, and no one bothered to check, which is more or less what we've come to expect from CNN after its painful attempts to "find" the missing MH370 using ever-more-uncomfortable methods. (And don't even get us started on the several minutes the panel spent talking about their vending machine snacks.)
People on Twitter found the coverage increasingly exasperating as the night wore on:
This user found the network's attempt to use and define "selfie" a little much. Others called out Lemon for being a hypocrite.
They even went after his bizarre pronunciation of a certain menu item.
And his awkward (and, um, kind of sexist) references to the female correspondents covering the event live.
We're glad some other people found Ben Stein about as annoying as we did.
Seriously, was Ben Stein the only guy they could get?
Basically, the coverage was just awkward.
Hard to put it better than that.