Right-wing media run with false Wash. Times claim that Republicans were “not invited” to state dinner

The Drudge Report and FoxNews.com have seized on a Washington Times article that falsely suggests the Obama administration excluded Republican lawmakers from its first state dinner on November 24, honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In fact, as the Times itself reported, Obama invited several Republicans, including the House and Senate Minority leaders, and some are declining to attend.

Wash. Times misleading headline: “Top Republican Lawmakers Not Invited to Obama's First State Dinner”

From a November 23 Washington Times article:

Top Republican lawmakers not invited to State Dinner

While the White House is mum about who will be among the 300 or so lucky invitees to President Obama's first state dinner Tuesday night, word is already leaking out about who's not on the A-list.

Chief among the non-attendees: top Republican lawmakers.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner won't be there; he's on Thanksgiving break and home in Ohio. His deputy, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, also didn't get an invitation to the dinner.

The president didn't invite his 2008 rival, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, even though Mr. Obama the candidate pledged a post-partisan presidency.

Most senators will be back in their home states during the holiday break, and few Republicans want to return to Washington for a party packed with Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell received an invitation but decided to skip the dinner.

“Sen. McConnell is with his constituents this week and will be at Kentucky events tomorrow and tomorrow night,” Don Stewart, the senator's communications director, said Monday.

Right-wing media run with false claim that Republicans were “not invited” to the White House state dinner

Drudge: “Not invited: Republican lawmakers....” Drudge linked to the Times article with the headline: “Not invited: Republican lawmakers....” juxtaposed with headlines stating that Obama invited Hollywood celebrities. From the Drudge Report:

drudge screen grab

Fox News.com: Top Republican Lawmakers Not Invited to Obama's First State Dinner." FoxNews.com also linked to a reprint of the Times story with the headline, “Top Republican Lawmakers Not Invited to Obama's First State Dinner.” From FoxNews.com:

FoxNews.com screengrab

In fact, Wash. Times itself lists at least three “top” Republicans who were invited to the dinner

McConnell, Boehner, Jindal among Republicans invited. As Media Matters noted, Obama did invite “top Republican lawmakers,” but some reportedly turned their invitations down. Despite its misleading headline, the Times article reported that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was invited to the dinner. Also, the article noted that Minority Leader John “Boehner won't be there; he's on Thanksgiving break and home in Ohio,” although it did not mention that he was reportedly invited as well. The Times article further reported that Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal “also has been invited.”

Wash. Times also reports that “Some top Democrats also found themselves out of the loop”

Nelson, Baucus reportedly did not get invitations. The Washington Times also reported that “Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who turned out to be a pivotal player in Saturday's health care vote, didn't rate an invitation. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana, who wrote the first draft of the bill, also didn't get the vaunted engraved invitation to the black-tie dinner.”