LAST CALL: Hughes guest list not welcome in DC

For eight decades, members of the political press have invited their prey to join them at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, an event that has come to be known for serving up self-effacing humor and on-the-record jabs.

For eight decades, members of the political press have invited their prey to join them at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, an event that has come to be known for serving up self-effacing humor and on-the-record jabs.

This year's build-up, however, has been less amusing, mostly due to rumors that Karen Hughes, the Bush Advisor Most Likely to Manhandle Reporters, has been trying to manipulate the Correspondents Associations' guest list.

According to the March 14 USA Today, Hughes has required that White House officials invited to the dinner first get her clearance before agreeing to attend.

An unnamed journalist told The New Republic, "I've never seen any White House actually try to get organized for the dinner. No one has ever done it."

Most pundits have been taking this as just one more example of what's largely seen as the most secretive and controlling White House in years, at least where media matters are concerned. We here at PRWeek, though, found ourselves quite pleased by the development.

Now, when we don't show up on May 4, we won't have to admit we weren't invited. Instead, our absence - one sure to be duly noted by the cognoscenti - will be seen as an example of Hughes' social engineering at its most unjust.

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