The New Yorker’s George Packer has a clear-eyed report from a recent fundraising dinner hosted by the Committee to Protect Journalists:

The event allows CPJ to continue for another year doing its job of defending journalists around the world—calling attention to murders, threats, attacks, and imprisonments, lobbying for journalists’ safety and release, supporting endangered journalists and their families and survivors. There’s no way to pay for this necessary work other than to sell tables for a dinner in the grand ballroom, and invite members of the media world, who arrive in tuxedos and evening dresses, and are waited on as they eat and drink and listen (or not) to introductory speeches by media luminaries. I’ve attended a number of these dinners, including last Tuesday’s, and invariably the same thing happens.


At just the moment when any half-conscious journalist is beginning to feel a little sick—sick of the rich food, of the self-congratulatory tone, of the overdressed guests, of himself or herself, of the gap between what we say we do and what we aspire to do and what we all-too-often really do—it’s at that moment that the hosts announce the winners of the year’s awards.

Read the rest. It’s really worth it.

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Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.