"There was a lot of dishing out, but probably the reason people are so sensitive this year, people are divided, they can barely have a conversation, let alone laugh at themselves," said Sunny Hostin. "I think it takes a strong person to be able to reflect and laugh at yourself and people have lost their sense of humor."
Joy Behar said the headliner "gets killed" every year, suggesting Donny and Marie Osmond take over in the future if people want something "nice and safe." "Comedians are going to be edgy," she added.
"I used to go once upon a time with my father and once it started turning into this celebrity, Oscar red carpet event, is when I start being, this is something I didn't really want to be a part of," said McCain. "I will say, this is a big gift to Trump supporters. There's already this implication, an idea that the media hate the Trump administration, hate Republicans, hate people in the middle of the country." She then pointed out how some non-conservatives criticized a few of the jokes as well.
"They did come out, they accused her of talking about people's looks, women's looks in particular," Whoopi Goldberg explained. "But she didn't. She made a smokey eye joke, which was about makeup." When McCain mentioned that Wolf compared Sarah Huckabee Sanders to Aunt Lydia on "The Handmaid's Tale," Goldberg defended it by saying, "That's her behavior, it's not her look."
"Jokes are up to interpretation," said McCain. "A lot of Republicans I know were really angry about this. I thought it was distasteful and I think that the dinner should be in the spirit of celebrating." As she was speaking, McCain said she could see Behar "being unhappy" with her comments.
Sunny Hostin, who attended the event, defended the dinner. "You're saying it should be in the spirit of journalism and I was in the room and it was all about the spirit of journalism," she said, also praising the scholarships tied to the it.
"I think there's a better way to give scholarships," said McCain. "I think journalism is important, I certainly believe the First Amendment is incredibly important. This dinner to me, I will not attend this dinner again long before Michelle Wolf came on this stage. I think it is more about red carpets, celebrities coming, more than anything else."
"I completely disagree," Hostin shot back. "That's not at all what it was about. I was in the room, it was about the celebration of journalism and the First Amendment."
Goldberg then got back in on the action, calling out McCain for saying the media hates people in the middle of the country. "Sometimes I think conservatives and Republicans forget that the tone of all of this began really several years ago with Republicans making statements that felt not quite inclusory," she said. "When you have people that are actually lying, when you see the lie and you can prove it, what are you supposed to do? We have to make a decision as Americans. Not everybody in the media is bad, not everybody in the administration is bad and so I think that the Correspondents' Dinner became about celebrities because they were bored with themselves. They're the ones who invite celebrities to come!"
"There are some dinners in Washington DC that truly are about celebrating journalism and the work that journalists and political commenters do," McCain then said. "This one is too," Hostin interjected, prompting McCain to ask her co-host, "Are you a journalist?"
"I consider myself one, I have a journalism degree," Sunny replied. "I'm just asking! I would like to say, the applause line ... I just feel like sometimes you want to line up conservatives and throw grapefruits at us," McCain said.
"I'm not attacking you, we're on a tv show that is commentary. I'm sorry that you are a journalist, I did not know that, I apologize," Meghan added, addressing Sunny.
"Nobody has every said anything negative about Trump voters. Our animosity is against Trump himself," added Joy Behar. "We do go after Trump, I'm one of his worst critics. You're talking about the vibe here and the vibe is not about Trump voters."
When McCain brought up the audience's reactions to her points, Behar said, "Now you're blaming the audience!"
With that, Whoopi put the conversation to an end and the show went to commercial.