The media are important. The White House Correspondents Dinner maybe less so.

April 27, 2017, 4:47 PM GMT+0

40% of Americans disapprove of President Trump not attending this year's White House Correspondents Dinner

The latest Economist/YouGov Poll found that the assessment of President Trump these days is more negative than positive, just as it has been throughout his young Administration. The media matters: most Americans believe that they are important in determining how well a President does his job.

That’s one question Republicans and Democrats agree on, but partisans don’t agree that the news media act responsibly. Among Democrats, the media get high marks for using their First Amendment protections responsibly, while Republicans overwhelmingly believe the media abuses that right. Independents are more critical than praising of the press.

So it might not be surprising that the White House Correspondents dinner, scheduled for this Saturday, creates different reactions among Democrats and Republicans. However, the dinner is not a big deal for many:

  • Only one in ten have heard a lot about the dinner’s sponsor, the White House Correspondents Association.
  • Most Americans, whatever their partisan affiliation, aren’t paying attention to the event.
  • Majorities of Republicans, Democrats and Independents say they aren’t following news about the dinner closely.
  • Only one in five say they will watch any of it.
  • And three in four don’t know anything about the event’s host – The Daily Show Senior Correspondent Hasan Minhaj.

That apparent lack of interest in the event matches that expressed by President Trump, who will be the first President not to attend the dinner since 1981, when Ronald Reagan missed it while he was recuperating from a failed assassination attempt. Trump’s decision not to attend gets praise from Republicans. Democrats, on the other hand, disapprove of the decision.