Media Bigwigs on the Obama State Dinner List: CNN President, Top NYT Editor, Stephen Colbert, and Al Sharpton

Every Obama fan wanted on the guest list of the state dinner for French president Francois Hollande. So it was an extra-special favor for media figures to get the invite.

On the president’s very exclusive guest list Tuesday night: Rev. Al Sharpton of MSNBC, fake-conservative Stephen Colbert, New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker, and two White House correspondents: AP's Julie Pace, and Bloomberg's Julianna Goldman. That wasn’t all.

There were also several other journalist regulars there for familial reasons: ABC reporter Claire Shipman, the wife of White House press secretary Jay Carney, and former ABC “This Week” executive producer Ian Cameron, the husband of national security adviser Susan Rice. Victoria Moseley at ABC (now at CNN) is married to Thomas Nides, who was a Deputy Secretary of State for Hillary Clinton.

(Sharpton, 58, came with his gal pal Aisha McShaw, 35, a "personal stylist.")

Journalists would point out that Republicans are invited to state dinners, too, and the Obamas generally invite one or two. Last night they welcomed Rep. Eric Cantor, as well as Rep. Paul Ryan and his wife Janna. But journalists know that if they accepted the invite in the Bush years, other journalists would frown at them as looking like they compromised their journalistic independence.

The Obamas have held seven state dinners so far, and among the guests were all three current network evening news anchors, as well as a thank-you invite to Katie Couric for that Sarah Palin interview in 2008. Here's a list of some of the top media guests over the years:

November 14, 2009: Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh

Michael Bloomberg, owner of Bloomberg News
Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post
Katie Couric, then-CBS anchor
Jason DeParle, New York Times (husband of White House official Nancy-Ann DeParle)
Thomas Friedman , New York Times
Sanjay Gupta, CNN
Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric (then-owners of NBC)
Gayle King (pre-CBS News)
Raju Narisetti, Washington Post
Ian Cameron, ABC
Robin Roberts, ABC
Brian Williams, NBC
Fareed Zakaria, CNN


May 19, 2010: Mexican president Felipe Calderon

Giselle Fernandez, former network reporter
Whoopi Goldberg, ABC "The View"
Jorge Ramos, Univision
Maria Elena Salinas, Univision
Ian Cameron, ABC


June 7, 2011: German chancellor Angela Merkel

E.J. Dionne, Washington Post
William Drozdiak, former longtime Washington Post editor
David Leonhardt, New York Times DC bureau chief
Virginia Moseley, ABC
Ian Cameron. ABC
Diane Sawyer. ABC
Gerald Seib, Wall Street Journal


October 13, 2011:  South Korean president Lee Myung-bak

Claire Shipman, ABC
Juju Chang, ABC
Neal Shapiro, former NBC News president, now at WNET (PBS)
Candy Crowley, CNN
Virginia Moseley, ABC
Scott Pelley, CBS
Ian Cameron, ABC
Carla Anne Robbins, former deputy editorial page editor, New York Times
Guy Gugliotta, former Washington Post reporter


January 19, 2011: Hu Jintao, leader of Red China

Christiane Amanpour, ABC
James Fallows, former editor of U.S. News
Thomas Friedman, New York Times
Bob Iger, Disney CEO (ABC)
David Ignatius, Washington Post
Jeffrey Immelt, GE CEO (NBC)
Nicolas Kristof, New York Times
Sheryl WuDunn, former New York Times reporter
Wendi Deng Murdoch (then-wife of Rupert)
Virginia Moseley, ABC
Ian Cameron, ABC


March 14, 2012: David Cameron, prime minster of the United Kingdom

Lionel Barber, editor, Financial Times
Ian Cameron, ABC
Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post
Claire Shipman, ABC
Jason DeParle, New York Times
Gwen Ifill, PBS
Katty Kay, BBC
Debra Lee, CEO of Black Entertainment Television
Virginia Moseley, ABC
Charlie Rose, PBS
Jeff Shell, chairman, NBCUniversal International
Marva Smalls, VP of Nickelodeon Networks Group
Andrew Sullivan
Paul Tash, CEO of [Tampa Bay] Times Publishing Co.
Gillian Tett., Financial Times
Richard Wolffe, MSNBC

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis