04/29/2017 19:22 EDT | Updated 05/01/2017 20:24 EDT

The Latest: A salute to First Amendment and jibes for Trump

WASHINGTON — The Latest on the White House Correspondents' Association dinner and the competing event organized by late-night TV star Samantha Bee (all times EDT):

11:15 p.m.

The First Amendment has been getting plenty of praise from prominent Washington journalists attending the White House Correspondents' Dinner. The event was held this year without President Donald Trump and without the usual Hollywood presence.

Watergate journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein reminded the crowd at the Washington Hilton Hotel of the value of patience and persistence in pursuing a big story. Woodward said: "The effort today to get this best obtainable version of the truth is largely made in good faith. Mr. President, the media is not 'fake news.'"

And comic Hasan Minhaj roasted the missing president, saying: "I think he's in Pennsylvania because he can't take a joke."


6:35 p.m.

There's a thinner presence of celebrities and other famous faces at this year's White House Correspondents' Association dinner.

Saturday evening's red carpet featured boldface names largely from the world of journalism and government. Among the guests are longtime Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

The guests arrived at the Washington Hilton as President Donald Trump was on his way to his own competing rally-style event in Pennsylvania. He is the first president to skip the event in decades.

With Trump's absence, WHCA dinner organizers say they're putting the focus on the First Amendment and the role of the press in a democracy.


5:10 p.m.

Washington's once-glitzy "nerd prom" is being briefly upstaged as comedians and Hollywood stars gather for jokes and jests about President Donald Trump.

The tongue-in-cheek event Saturday is a counter to the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Late-night TV star Samantha Bee pulled in celebrities for the first "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner." Attending are Alysia Reiner of "Orange Is the New Black," Retta of "Parks and Recreation" and Matt Walsh of "Veep."

Bee's show is a comedic tribute to American news organizations, and features actor Will Ferrell and other guests roasting Trump and his allies.

The star power of the real correspondents' dinner is taking a hit this year with Trump's absence.

He's doing his own counter-programming, scheduling a rally Saturday night in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.


2:50 p.m.

On a sweltering Washington spring day, several TV stars who walked the red carpet to Samantha Bee's "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner" have homed in on a key reason they were there: To support freedom of the press. They say they feel press freedom has been under attack since President Donald Trump took office 100 days ago.

Actor Matt Walsh played press secretary Mike McClintock on the HBO political comedy "Veep." He says: "Administrations have been hostile to the media before. But this one is particularly isolating, or singling out, the retailers of media that they like" and trying to ignore those they don't.


12:55 p.m.

Comedian Samantha Bee says she feels "the press is under assault" in the United States.

The host of her namesake show on TBS says she's contributing proceeds from her "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner" event on Saturday to the Committee to Protect Journalists because it "seemed very logical."

Bee tells The Associated Press in an interview: "We're doing an event that celebrates the freedom of the press. We care deeply about it. For God's sake, we could not do our show if things were more restricted. So, boy, nobody needs press freedom more than we do."

Her event in Washington comes hours before the traditional White House Correspondents' Association dinner. She frequently targets President Donald Trump, but he's holding a rally Saturday instead of attending the WHCA dinner.


11:25 a.m.

Washington's most glitzy "nerd prom" is about to get overshadowed.

Late-night TV star Samantha Bee has organized the first "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner." It's a tongue-in-cheek play off the annual event from the White House Correspondents' Association that's traditionally drawn the president, journalists and — in recent years — celebrities.

But this year President Donald Trump is skipping the dinner on what is his 100th day in office. He'll be in Pennsylvania later Saturday for a rally.

Bee's event is to air at 10 p.m. on TBS. That's just after C-SPAN is to begin coverage of the correspondents' dinner — where the master of ceremonies is comedian Hasan Minhaj of "The Daily Show."


2:35 a.m.

The annual gala dinner of the White House Correspondents' Association is taking place on Saturday night without its traditional star.

President Donald Trump has decided to skip the event — where he'd be a prime target of biting humour. Instead, he's planning to be in Pennsylvania for a rally.

In recent years, lots of celebrities have attended the dinner as guests of media outlets. That's not the case this year, and the gathering is focusing on the First Amendment and the crucial role of the press in democracy.

There will be an entertainer as master of ceremonies: Hasan Minhaj of "The Daily Show."

The last president to decline an invitation to the dinner was Ronald Reagan in 1981 — when he was recovering from an assassination attempt.