John Parkinson, chair of the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association, Wednesday called on presumptive GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump to immediately restore the press credentials his campaign pulled from The Washington Post over a headline and story Trump took issue with.
Parkinson was speaking at RTCA's annual congressional correspondents dinner, or as keynote speaker Ohio governor John Kasich said after three of the four awards went to ABC newsers: "Welcome to the ABC Awards show... talk about fair and balanced."
Taking home the Joan Barone Award for D.C.-based national affairs, public policy coverage was ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl. ABC News’ senior operations producer Peter Doherty was given the Jerry Thompson Memorial Award for efforts "above and beyond" in service of the public's right to know, and ABC's retiring Dennis Dunlavey, who has directed D.C. coverage, received the Career Achievement Award.
Rounding out the awards, and the only non-ABC winner, was BBC International correspondent Ian Pannell, who got the David Bloom Award for excellence in enterprise reporting.
Kasich joked about the credential issue. "I've picked up the angst here about press credentials," he said. "You mention that word and everybody gets upset. In my campaign, we paid people to take press credentials so somebody would show up every once in a while."
The presidential campaign was a constant subtext of the RTCA event—the group has officially asked the Trump campaign to restore the Post's credentials—from the applause for Parkinson's call for immediate action, to Kasich's reference, to Dunlavey's acceptance speech.
Pointing out that he was already "mostly" retired, Dunlavey said he would have to rely on the journalists in the audience, as is all of America, to "make sense of this peculiar election campaign… and to make sense of it all."
"It is going to be a long campaign and we are counting on you not to grow weary of separating facts from fiction, not to become immune to outrage. It is going to be a long five-and-half months," he said. "Don't get tired of holding people accountable who feel they don't need to be held accountable...When does objectivity require a little less equivalence and a little more truth."
Citing the musical Hamilton, he ended: "History has its eyes on you."