In addition to the much-anticipated jokes about Tucker Carlson fleeing Fox News and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ escalating dispute with Disney, this year’s White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) dinner, which Brittney Griner and her wife Cherelle are attending as guests of CBS News, get ready for some serious talk about the often dangerous situations journalists face around the world.
Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will open the dinner with a pre-taped video about the importance of a free and independent press.
Tamara Keith, the president of the WHCA is planning to talk about the Russian detention of The Wall Street Journal’s Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested in March and charged with espionage. His family is expected to attend the WHCA.
“They are among hundreds of journalists around the world who are wrongfully detained for the simple act of doing journalism — which is not a crime,” said Keith who is the White House reporter for NPR.
CNN’s guests will include Yulia Navalnaya and Dasha Navalnaya, the wife and daughter of Alexey Navalny, the jailed Russian opposition leader, lawyer and anti-corruption activist who has reportedly been grappling with severe stomach pains, which many fear could be the result of slow-acting poison, per reports released on Friday.
Also attending will be Debra Tice, the mother of Austin Tice, who has not been heard from since disappearing at a checkpoint in Syria in 2012. U.S. officials say they’re operating under the assumption that he is alive and are working to try to bring him home.
Griner, who gave her first press conference this past Thursday has pledged to work for the release of other Americans incarcerated abroad. Her detention at a Moscow airport in Feb. 2022 for possessing less than a gram of cannabis oil led to tense US-Russian diplomatic efforts culminating in her release on December 8, 2022, when she was exchanged for the Russian arms dealer and Putin ally, Viktor Bout.
Griner mentioned Gershkovich in her press conference on Thursday. “I have that mindset of, you know, no man left behind. No man, no woman left behind,” said Griner, whose father was in the Marines during the Vietnam War. “No one should be in those conditions, hands down.”
Comedy Central’s Roy Wood Jr. will be the featured entertainer, so not to worry, there will be plenty of laughs on hand.