Media Shocker: New York Times Rips Pelosi and Murtha
During the past week, NewsBusters has made it quite clear that the media have a love affair going with incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and antiwar Congressman Jack Murtha. The big question around the cooler yesterday was which media outlets would be critical of either Democrat given Thursday’s vote to appoint Steny Hoyer as House Majority Leader. Well, separating themselves from the pack on Friday was the New York Times which published a scathing editorial surprisingly lambasting both Pelosi and Murtha (emphasis mine throughout):
Nancy Pelosi has managed to severely scar her leadership even before taking up the gavel as the new speaker of the House. First, she played politics with the leadership of the House Intelligence Committee to settle an old score and a new debt. And then she put herself in a lose-lose position by trying to force a badly tarnished ally, Representative John Murtha, on the incoming Democratic Congress as majority leader. The party caucus put a decisive end to that gambit yesterday, giving the No. 2 job to Steny Hoyer, a longtime Pelosi rival.
Checking that link about now? Don’t, because it’s going to get better:
But Ms. Pelosi’s damage to herself was already done. The well-known shortcomings of Mr. Murtha were broadcast for all to see — from his quid-pro-quo addiction to moneyed lobbyists to the grainy government tape of his involvement in the Abscam scandal a generation ago. The resurrected tape — feasted upon by Pelosi enemies — shows how Mr. Murtha narrowly survived as an unindicted co-conspirator, admittedly tempted but finally rebuffing a bribe offer: “I’m not interested — at this point.”
Mr. Murtha would have been a farcical presence in a leadership promising the cleanest Congress in history. Ms. Pelosi should have been first to realize this, having made such a fiery campaign sword of her vows to end Capitol corruption. Instead, she acted like some old-time precinct boss and lost the first test before her peers.
Amazed? Could have been today’s Washington Times editorial, correct? Don’t go away to check that link yet, for the Times editorial staff wasn’t done:
As incoming speaker, Ms. Pelosi will be dogged by skepticism — from within the party and without — about her political smarts and her ability to deliver a galvanized agenda.
It was a no-brainer for the caucus to end the misguided fight for Mr. Murtha, who belittled the need for reform. Now the pressure is even greater for Speaker-elect Pelosi to recover by leading the House to something actually worth fighting for — starting with credible anticorruption strictures. For this she needs gaffe-wary advisers, among them Mr. Hoyer, who has his own questionable record of flourishing in big-money politics. The new majority — led by a presumably wiser speaker — must realize by now that intramural vendetta is hardly a substitute for productive government.
Shocking stuff to be sure. Of course, it might have been nice of the Times to inform its readers of such issues before the election…or, is that asking too much?