MANUFACTURED STORY OF THE DAY…. With an Indian delegation, led by Prime Minister Singh, at the White House today, President Obama will host his first State Dinner this evening. The conservative media machine has already decided on its preferred angle.

The far-right Washington Times, with its few remaining staffers and editors, published a report this morning with this headline: “Top Republican lawmakers not invited to State Dinner.” (The print edition said, “Obama’s big tent leaves out GOP bigwigs.”) Drudge, naturally, took the bait, telling readers, “Not invited: Republican lawmakers…” Fox News, not surprisingly, soon followed, republishing the Times piece.

All of this might be more compelling if it weren’t for the leading Republicans who were, in fact, invited.

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 Rep. 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.”

I realize the political conditions are such that every event is an opportunity for an attack. The president’s hosting a state dinner, so Republicans and their media outlets have to think of something to say to undermine the White House.

But the best they could come up with is an invitation list that only included some prominent Republican leaders? And that turned into a headline that read, “Top Republican lawmakers not invited to State Dinner”?

Rumor has it the Washington Times won’t be around much longer. It won’t be missed.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.