The New York Times' coverage of President Obama's state dinner for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed how much the newspaper has retreated from its "newspaper of record" role.
In covering such affairs in the past, the Times traditionally ran a complete guest list, along with the menu. No such lists appeared along with the newspaper's articles on Thursday night's White House dinner honoring Trudeau. Instead of a complete list, the Times mentioned a few of the guests in general articles.
Thanks to Internet searches, a fairly complete list emerged. The Canadian-born celebrities invited looked past prime time. Michael J. Fox? Sandra Oh? Mike Myers? Ryan Reynolds did appear, along with Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels. I suppose the White House didn't want to invite anyone who might outshine Trudeau's glamour. If faded Canadian stars were needed, what about Neil Young? I can imagine him singing, "Don't let it get you down, it's only castles burning."
Also strange was why the commissioners of the Natiional Hockey League and National Basketball Association were invited, but not the commissioner of baseball, Or soccer for that matter.
The menu included halibut - a puzzling choice following Trudeau and Obama's agreement to work together on climate change. With the oceans endangered and fish stocks depleted, the White House might have considered another choice. Lamb chops from Colorado were also served. Guess lambs don't vote Democratic.
The Times did run a confusing analysis of all the guests who've been invited to Obama state dinners over the years. Wall Street executives, including Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein, have received the most invitations, the analysis found, showing that Bernie Sanders is right about Wall Street's influence in Washington. Some believe Wall Street execs should have been sent to jail for sinking the economy in 2008. Instead, they get to spend the evening with Michelle and Barack.
If Sanders is elected, the Wall Street invitations will end. The business tycoons probably won't mind - Sanders will likely serve hot dogs and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. Plus, they won't want to mingle with whatever socialist leaders Sanders rounds up.
Just imagine a Donald Trump state dinner. Would Russian leader Vladimir Putin be the guest of honor? The meal would feature Trump steaks, Trump desserts and Trump wine. Guests would be fired by Trump. Or roughed up by Secret Service agents.
A Ted Cruz state dinner? Chicken fried steak, perhaps. The prayer would be long. Marco would offer bottled water.
At least Hillary has experience in White House state dinners. She'd even have Bill around to serve as Master of Ceremonies. Trudeau would love coming back to the same White House couple who were hosts to his Dad.
Since other Hillary campaign efforts don't seem to be working, perhaps she can win votes by pointing to her state dinner expertise. But no foreign dishes. That would be free trade.