Joseph Curl and Matthew Mosk at the Washington Times came up with a heck of a non-story story today for the reportedly troubled newspaper, titled, "Top Republican lawmakers not invited to State Dinner." Take a look:
The print article ran on the Times' front page with the headline, "Obama's big tent leaves out GOP bigwigs; Dinner to honor India's leader." Slightly different, but it gets the same point across. From the headlines, one would think that Curl and Mosk had exposed President Obama as a biting partisan, who ran Republicans' invitations to the White House's first state dinner through the shredder while they eagerly awaited them at home. But one would have to read on.
As it turns out, Obama did invite "top Republican lawmakers." They just aren't attending. Let's run through the list of Republicans the Times names in its story, despite its headline:
House Minority Leader John Boehner: He certainly counts as a "top Republican lawmaker." Curl and Mosk write that "Boehner won't be there; he's on Thanksgiving break and home in Ohio." Left out of their story? That Boehner was reportedly invited.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: Also a "top Republican" who "received an invitation" but "decided to skip the dinner."
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: He was invited, according to the Times, because he is a "prominent Indian-American." You could make a pretty solid argument that Jindal rose quickly in the GOP's ranks after they chose him to give a rebuttal to Obama's first address to Congress. At the time, the Times even decided that Jindal sounded pretty presidential.
Sen. John McCain: Not invited. The Times writes that this is despite the fact that "Obama the candidate pledged a post-partisan presidency."
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor: Not invited.
So let's recap: Mosk and Curl named five Republicans in their story who are "not on the A-list" for the White House's state dinner, two of which were apparently not invited. But they frame their story as "Top Republican lawmakers not invited to State Dinner." And of course, the clearest indication that this is a non-story is that Drudge has taken the bait by linking to the article with the outrageously false headline: "Not invited: Republican lawmakers..." Let's hope Times readers can wade through the muck and decide what's actually news today.
Blog posts by The New York Times and washingtonpost.com both reported on the Democratic National Committee's announcement that it would be filing a lawsuit to force the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to investigate Sen. John McCain's unilateral withdrawal from the federal public financing system for the primary election, but neither noted that FEC chairman David Mason has taken the position that McCain cannot opt out of public financing in the primary without FEC approval.