Couldn't get a ticket to the DeploraBall, tonight's not-quite-alt-right inauguration party at the National Press Club?
Don't feel bad: Neither could much of the media, though we certainly tried.
Of the more than 200 requests for press passes the organizers of the event received, they granted only 20.
"Otherwise, it would have been one reporter for every fifth person," said Jeff Giesea, one of the DeploraBall's planners.
The lucky outlets, among them the New Yorker, New York magazine, Fox News, and Breitbart, will have dibs on asking questions of the 1,000 guests, plied with an open bar and celebrating their victorious campaign, per the event's website, "to meme our way to the Whitehouse." (BuzzFeed News plans on covering the event.)
Of the more reasonable 50–1 ratio, Giesea said: "It's still a lot of press."
No, a lot of press is what will descend on Friday night's smaller sequel, the Gay DeploraBall, in the upscale DC suburb of Potomac, Maryland. That soiree will draw 85 news outlets, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, the New York Post, the BBC, NBC News, CNN, Quartz, and BuzzFeed News. In addition, documentary crews from Vice and Anonymous Content — the production company behind The Revenant and Winter's Bone — will strafe the guests.
All 200 of them.
That means, conservatively, there will be one member of the media for every two attendees.
"Isn't it amazing?" said Katarina Niedermair, a spokesperson for the Gay DeploraBall.
Amazing: The two parties — organized largely by political novices (Giesea, for example, has no background in politics and Niedermair is 22) — are set to receive the kind of coverage reserved for professional sporting events and major political press conferences. It's a testament to the enormous public fascination generated by the meme-savvy faction of the pro-Trump internet, even as it seems to be undergoing an existential crisis.
Yes, Giesea and his co-organizers have gone to some lengths to distance themselves from the more explicitly racist elements of the pro-Trump internet — "We wanted to create a space for everyday citizens who supported Trump to celebrate his inauguration," he said. But it's hard to imagine this sort of massive media interest in the event if there weren't the potential for some fireworks.
Those could come in the form of a stinkbomb attack by DC anti-fascists, or perhaps more likely, Nazi salutes from attendees unhappy with the DeploraBall's decision to ostracize publicly the overt racists and anti-Semites who helped fight the very same meme campaign.
The potential for such a subversion is keeping Giesea "busy and stressed," he said, and for good reason: The infamous Nazi salute alt-right hero Richard Spencer presided over at a November conference in DC — the first postelection gathering of Trump-internet types attended en masse by reporters — led to much of the current agita within the movement. That event and that gesture controversially inflated Spencer into the leading figure in the alt-right, which had until then been a largely faceless movement.
That's likely why Giesea has set a ground rule for reporters attending tomorrow night's party: Interviews have to be opt-in — no ambushes by the bar. And CNN, which the DeploraBall's umbrella organization MAGA3X took to Twitter today to call "biased" and "irresponsible," won't be invited in. Still, hundreds of reporters and dozens of cameras at two controversial events seem likely not to let a stray gesture go unnoticed, or a stray slur go unheard.
In other words, expect a deluge of DeploraBall content over the weekend. And don't think that the organizers don't know it.
"All the noise that's gone on has given us a pretty big opportunity," said Niedermair. "The more coverage we can have, the better."