During remarks last night at the Gridiron Club at a hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., President Obama flattered the press. "[T]he truth is," Obama told the club of journalists, "our country needs you and our democracy needs you."
"In an age when all it takes to attract attention is a Twitter handle and some followers, it’s easier than ever to get it wrong. But it’s more important than ever to get it right. And I am grateful for all the journalists who do one of the toughest jobs there is with integrity and insight and dedication -- and a sense of purpose -- that goes beyond a business model or a news cycle," said Obama.
"This year alone, reporters have exposed corruption here at home and around the world. They’ve risked everything to bring us stories from places like Syria and Kenya, stories that need to be told. And they’ve helped people understand the ways in which we’re all connected -- how something that happens or doesn’t happen halfway around the world or here in Washington can have consequences for American families."
According to reports, David Gregory of NBC, Diane Sawyer of ABC, Chris Matthews of MSNBC, and Wolf Blitzer of CNN were all in attendance, as well as hundreds more.
The president of the United States continued, "These are extraordinary times. The stakes are high and the tensions can sometimes be high as well. But while we'll always have disagreements, I believe that we share the belief that a free press -- a press that questions us, that holds us accountable, that sometimes gets under our skin -- is absolutely an essential part of our democracy.
"So I want to thank everybody for not just a wonderful evening -- and, Chuck, I want to thank you for your outstanding presidency -- but I also just want to thank you for the work that you do each and every day. And in the words of one of my favorite Star Trek characters -- Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise -- 'May the force be with you.'"
The dinner is supposed to be light-hearted and in good fun. The dinner was closed to cameras.