‘You think I’m old?’: President Joe Biden roasts Rupert Murdoch

US President Joe Biden has taken aim at Rupert Murdoch’s age while roasting a number of famous faces in his speech at the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner.

Mr Biden had a serious message too as he acknowledged several American journalists under siege in authoritarian countries around the world.

While Mr Biden spent most of his speech focused on the issue of press freedom, he took time to take jabs at some of his most vocal political critics.

The president went after Fox Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch about his age. “And you call me old?” he told the crowd.

“Look, I get that age is a completely reasonable issue,” he said, before joking about The New York Times‘ digs about his age.

“You might think I don’t like Rupert Murdoch. That’s simply not true. How can I dislike a guy who makes me look like Harry Styles?”

“Call me ‘old?’ I call it being seasoned. You say ‘I’m ancient,’ I say I’m wise,” Mr Biden continued.

“You say ‘I’m over the hill,’ Don Lemon would say that’s a man in his prime!”

In another self-deprecating joke targeting criticism of his age as he mounts a second bid for re-election he said: “I believe in the First Amendment and not just because my good friend Jimmy Madison wrote it.”

Comedian Roy Wood Jr, a correspondent for The Daily Show who was the featured entertainer, took the stage after Mr Biden and also zeroed in on the president’s age.

“We should be inspired by the events in France,” he said.

“They rioted when the retirement age went up two years to 64.

“Meanwhile in America, we have an 80-year-old man, begging us for four more years.”

Mr Biden was the first president in six years to accept the invitation after Donald Trump shunned the event while in office.

The annual black-tie dinner drew a wide array of celebrities and media moguls to Washington, with parties being held across the capital.

Among those in attendance were actor Liev Schreiber, singer John Legend and his wife Chrissy Teigen.

Actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger opened the dinner with a pre-taped video message about the importance of a free and independent press, calling reporters an “ally of the people”.

US President Joe Biden made self-deprecating jokes about his age. Photo: Getty

‘Journalism is not a crime’

The annual dinner also had a solemn tone regarding free press and Mr Biden said: “We are here to send a message to the country and, quite frankly, to the world: The free press is a pillar, maybe the pillar, of a free society, not the enemy.”

The president and First Lady Jill Biden, upon arriving at the Washington Hilton, met privately with the parents of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been imprisoned in Russia since March.

He was charged with spying, despite strong denials from his employer and the US government. Some guests wore badges with “Free Evan” printed on them.

Also among the 2600 people attending the gala was Debra Tice, the mother of Austin Tice, who has not been heard from since disappearing at a checkpoint in Syria in 2012. Officials operate under the assumption that he is alive and are working to try to bring him home.

Mr Biden said: “Journalism is not a crime. Evan and Austin should be released immediately, along with every other American detained abroad.

“I promise you, I am working like hell to get them home.”

The Bidens also made a beeline for Brittney Griner, the WNBA star and Olympic gold medallist who was detained in Russia for nearly 10 months last year before her release in a prisoner swap. Griner attended with her wife Cherelle as guests of CBS News.

“This time last year we were praying for you, Brittney,” Mr Biden said to the basketball star.

Singer John Legend and his wife Chrissy Teigan were on the guest list which included political and media elite and celebrities. Photo: Getty

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