Washington (AFP) - It is supposed to be a light-hearted gathering of journalists, celebrities and the president, where differences are put aside for good-natured jibes.
But amid a bitter war of words between the Trump administration and the Fourth Estate, plans for the 2017 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in April have been thrown into turmoil.
After President Donald Trump's repeated barbs against the "dishonest media" and "fake news," some journalists and media outlets are thinking twice about their participation in the April 29 dinner, a tradition that dates back to 1921.
"How can media clink glasses with a White House that makes clear its contempt for press freedom and its admiration for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin methods?" tweeted David Frum, a senior editor at The Atlantic.
The association, which organizes the annual event that raises money for journalism scholarships, said the dinner will be held as planned.
The White House has indicated it is on Trump's calendar -- despite some doubts about whether he will attend.
Opinion editor Robert Schlesinger of US News & World Report said that regardless of what Trump does, "the media should boycott the dinner."
"News organizations should buy tickets as usual (it's for a good cause) but make other plans that night and if he does attend, let the ratings- and crowd-obsessed narcissist freak address an empty ballroom," Schlesinger wrote.
Ironically, some analysts say the 2011 dinner in which then president Barack Obama skewered Trump became a pivotal moment in the billionaire's decision to make a White House run.