Patterico's Pontifications

4/14/2007

L.A. Times Does Puff Piece on “Centrist” Nancy Pelosi

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:51 pm

After all the stories about “Hillary the centrist,” it’s time for a front-page puff-piece article in the L.A. Times about “Nancy the centrist”:

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“She convinced me,” said [Earl] Blumenauer, whose vote helped give [Nancy] Pelosi her most important legislative victory. “For me, there was no attempt at pressure. I was able to convey my concerns. She was there. She was listening.”

Pelosi’s performance on the war spending bill highlighted what has become her signature: an aggressive leadership style that seeks to put Congress on par with the White House and prove that her notoriously fractious party can indeed govern.

The author of the piece, Faye Fiore, certainly knows how to gush:

As the highest-ranking woman in elective office, Pelosi is as much a power player as the men who preceded her.

“She’s well-bred, a lady through and through,” said Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Atherton), Pelosi’s friend of 30 years. “But anyone who knows her knows not to mess with her.”

With a father who was a Baltimore mayor and congressman who ran a political machine out of the family’s brick row house, Pelosi cultivates loyalty in ways large and small, much as her father did — keeping careful political tallies, but still remembering birthdays.

She opens her office doors to the factions of her ideologically splintered caucus, instructing staffers to stock the refrigerator and “always offer guests.”

Ain’t she the greatest?

There’s plenty of negative stuff to say about Pelosi, and the article alludes to some of it — but stuffs it all down after the jump:

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OK, most of the readers are gone now. It’s safe to mention her screw-ups. And so, for the first time, those few readers that bother to turn to the back pages get to read about a real negative:

Pelosi’s forceful approach carries risks. Her recent trip to Syria, where she boasted of carrying a message from the Israeli prime minister, drew surprised Israelis’ immediate clarifications, as well as swipes from the White House, which said she was meddling dangerously in foreign policy. Images of Pelosi in a head scarf appeared on television as critics derided her for kowtowing to a dictator.

That’s the first serious negative mentioned in the article — unless you count it as a negative that liberals say she’s a bad listener and conservatives say she’s a great listener. (A centrist! in other words.) And the negative is safely tucked on the back pages.

Note, by the way, the use of the active voice and the portrayal of the controversy as attacks by rivals: “swipes from the White House” (are “swipes” ever legitimate criticism?), and critics deriding her. If it were a Republican who had done this, you’d read about how a “controversy arose” over the Syrian trip — as if the controversy had a life of its own. This is how wording is used to subtly tell you whose side you should be on, as I have discussed before.

And for the benefit of any reader who does manage to make it all the way back to Page A14, the paper presents a silver living to the cloud of the Syria trip:

But her attempts to open a Middle East dialogue also underscored Pelosi’s ambition — to be the public face of a resurgent party out to show voters it can be trusted to run the country.

Oh. Well, that sounds nice.

Further down on Page A14, there’s another negative mentioned in paragraph 21, about Pelosi’s lack of recall of details at a televised press conference about Iraq. And there are a few more negatives listed for any reader who makes it aaaaallllllllllll the way down to the 27th paragraph. But even these are spun in Pelosi’s favor:

There have been, however, some questionable decisions.

In the contest over who would succeed her as House Democratic leader, Pelosi split the caucus — needlessly, in the view of some Democrats — when she unsuccessfully tried to defeat an old rival, the popular Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland.

No mention is made of the fact that the person Pelosi tried to install was Jack Murtha, a guy who looked pretty shady in tapes of the ABSCAM investigation. What made Pelosi’s backing of Murtha so eye-opening was the spectacle of the corruption-fighting party pushing people like Murtha, who had shown a willingness to consider bribes, and Alcee Hastings, who was impeached for taking them. This angle is not mentioned, even briefly.

And check out how the article portrays her demands for a larger military jet:

She was blindsided by a flap over her request for a larger military jet to fly around the country, a perk that comes with being second-in-line to the presidency. Conservatives made headlines calling her a diva.

Damn conservatives, blindsiding her like that! Why, it doesn’t sound like she had any fault in that at all!

A paper that wanted to slam her could simply push these and other negatives to the top of the article, and bury the pap about how great she is on Page A14. Or, a paper that just wanted to be fair [No chuckling allowed during the reading of the blog post. -- Ed.] could run something more balanced and give positives and negatives equal play and prominence.

But I wouldn’t expect either from reporter Faye Fiore, who has experience rhapsodizing about powerful Democrat women in politics. As I noted in a January 2005 post, to Fiore, Dianne Feinstein is “the centrist stateswoman” while Barbara Boxer is “the passionate standard-bearer.” As I told you, it was more important to Fiore to claim that Boxer had “succeeded in getting [Condoleeza Rice's] goat” than it was to explain that Boxer had misrepresented the facts in doing so.

All in all, it’s certainly quite a different approach towards a Speaker of the House than the paper took with Tom DeLay, who saw the irrelevant details of his father’s death dragged into the Terri Schiavo controversy by a gang of chuckling editors out to take a cheap shot.

What’s the difference between Nancy Pelosi and Tom DeLay, that they should receive such wildly different treatment from the paper?

I’ll let you ponder that one.

19 Comments

  1. Continuous infighting amongst the old guard and
    newbie Trib punks, makes for curious payback
    in the Elements of Style and inverted pyramid reporting seen here.

    Is that what you’re complaining about?

    “but stuffs it all down after the jump:”

    Maybe the negs should have come higher up, but I suspect Ad placement was the villain here, especially since, need I say it again? The Chicago Tribune is desperate for revenue.

    Comment by semanticleo (2f60f4) — 4/14/2007 @ 1:13 pm

  2. There are no ads on the front page (yet).

    Comment by Patterico (034697) — 4/14/2007 @ 1:30 pm

  3. “What’s the difference between Nancy Pelosi and Tom DeLay”
    Well for starters, Nancy Pelosi doesn’t support forced abortions…

    Comment by Jacob (7cd3c5) — 4/14/2007 @ 1:30 pm

  4. There’s plenty of ammo out there to use against Pelosi, Murtha and other Dems… Why do you insist on lying about Murtha’s role in ABSCAM?

    Comment by The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2) — 4/14/2007 @ 1:58 pm

  5. Why do you insist on lying about whether what I said is true?

    Oh, right, I forgot. Because lying is second nature to you. Like when you lied about whether you altered carlitos’s comment.

    Comment by Patterico (5b0b7f) — 4/14/2007 @ 2:00 pm

  6. For the benefit of any newcomers:

    1) Liberal Avenger is a known liar. That is an incontrovertible fact.

    2) For more detail on Murtha, read the post I linked. It’s all there.

    Comment by Patterico (5b0b7f) — 4/14/2007 @ 2:18 pm

  7. If Pelosi is a centrist, I’m the fucking queen of merry old england…

    Comment by Scott Jacobs (a1de9d) — 4/14/2007 @ 2:35 pm

  8. So Pelosi gets a hard-core lefty congressman to go against all his principles and vote for additional funding for a war he opposes and we are supposed to believe it is all about her ability to listen and respond to his concerns? I’ll bet just about anything she said to him, “Earl, if you want to keep your seat on the Ways & Means Committee you will give me this vote.” That fits it better with what we have all heard about her leadership style .

    By the way, check out the pictures of Earl Blumenauer on his congressional website. He looks exactly like a liberal weenie sent straight from Central Casting.

    Comment by JVW (bcc29b) — 4/14/2007 @ 2:46 pm

  9. If SanFranNan is a centrist, it must come as quite a shock to Hill to find herself as part of the Vast RightWing Conspiracy she always rails against.

    Love the subhead about “building ties with rivals”…yep, as long as those “rivals” are overseas dictators..she’s more than happy to dona hijab and make goo-goo eyes with terrorist regimes…

    but she won’t go talk with President Bush

    Comment by Darleen (187edc) — 4/14/2007 @ 3:46 pm

  10. Re LA’s comment #4:

    A video is worth a thousand words.

    Comment by nk (a3cd81) — 4/14/2007 @ 5:12 pm

  11. Of course those two women are centrists, in the eys of the radical, socialists LA Times reporters.

    Comment by Alta Bob (53ed2d) — 4/14/2007 @ 6:56 pm

  12. ABSCAM:

    Some people accepted bribes. Murtha did not. Both the accepted bribes and the spurned bribes were caught on camera. Murtha turned his bribe down on camera. Why does Patterico insist on assassinating his character by implying that Murtha accepted ABSCAM bribes.

    For Patterico, it seems, partisan point-taking is more important than the truth. I’m frankly disappointed in him. I thought he was better than that. I guess I thought wrong.

    Comment by The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2) — 4/14/2007 @ 7:30 pm

  13. I thought he was better than that. I guess I thought wrong.

    Utter crap.

    That’s a bullshit schtick you use to give your comments faux credibility. I saw you weeks ago saying the same thing on some blog: Oh, I used to think Patterico was honest, but now I am disappointed to find out he isn’t.

    The absolutely freaking hilarious part is that you were talking about the alteration of carlito’s comment, where you flat-out lied, in one of the clearest and most indisputable cases of inartful, straight lying I have ever seen on the Intrawebs.

    As regards Murtha:

    No, he was never caught taking a bribe. He turned his bribe down on camera. But he left open the possibility of accepting bribes at some point in the future.

    That’s why I said he “had shown a willingness to consider bribes.” And that is flat-out true.

    All the details are in the linked post, which, for the reader’s convenience, is here.

    It’s too bad Liberal Avenger is lying about me. I thought he was better than that. Hahahahahahahaha. OK, I couldn’t say that with a straight face.

    Comment by Patterico (5b0b7f) — 4/14/2007 @ 7:39 pm

  14. Oh, please.

    Comment by The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2) — 4/14/2007 @ 8:07 pm

  15. Patterico’s “honesty” is beside the point. He has an axe to grind and is quite upfront about it. I certainly don’t read this blog for its “objectivity” — cause it ain’t there.

    Comment by David Ehrenstein (7f21f7) — 4/14/2007 @ 8:18 pm

  16. “Blumenauer…liberal weenie sent straight from Central Casting.”
    Sort of reminds you of Ralph Nader, with better hair.

    Comment by Another Drew (8018ee) — 4/14/2007 @ 8:42 pm

  17. Dude, I love Ralph’s hair… It’s like he’s saying “Screw you world! This is me!! I will not define myself by your definition of non-shitty hair!”

    Totally cool…

    Comment by Scott Jacobs (a1de9d) — 4/15/2007 @ 6:33 am

  18. For what it’s worth, in San Francisco, Pelosi is considered to be a moderate conservative; like almost all San Francisco politicians who become prominent outside the area, she is loathed by the liberals.

    Comment by aphrael (68dfe1) — 4/15/2007 @ 7:06 am

  19. Who let Eherenstein back in?

    For Pelosi to condescendingly tell the President to “…calm down with the threats…” and in the same breath say she has “…respect for the Presidency…” (but not the President) and then push forward on her own “…alternative foreign policy…” while violating the Logan Act (a felony) says it all. Just another flaming hater liberal.

    Comment by dubya (c16726) — 4/15/2007 @ 1:36 pm

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