Media Race to Coronate 'Speaker Pelosi,' NBC Offers Fawning Tribute

Yesterday, I reported on a new Media Research Center study that documented how the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts have aired just two unfavorable stories about Nancy Pelosi since she was elected House Minority Leader (about one every 24 months), and haven’t labeled her a “liberal” since November 14, 2002 — in spite of her hardcore liberal voting record, as admired by the liberal Americans for Democratic Action.

Now, it seems Pelosi’s media admirers are trying to coronate her as the next Speaker of the House even before the voters go to the polls. CBS News is touting a profile of Pelosi (“Two Heartbeats Away”) set to air on Sunday’s 60 Minutes, and this morning’s (Friday’s) Today show on NBC aired a long, nearly all-positive profile that carried the on-screen headline “Speaker Pelosi? The Race of Her Life.”

The giddiness may be premature: Friday’s Washington Times reported that moderate and conservative House Democrats may oppose elevating the ultraliberal Pelosi to the top job, even if Democrats win a numerical majority next month.

This morning’s Today piece was one the Pelosi camp must have savored. Reporter Jamie Gangel touted Pelosi’s political acumen: “She often introduces herself as a mother and grandmother, and is known for her trademark smile. But don’t be fooled. At 66, she is ambitious, effective, and has made an art form of staying on message.”

Sticking with NBC’s obsession with the Kennedy clan, Gangel also highlighted an old photo of a young Nancy Pelosi with John F. Kennedy. Gangel fawned: “By the time she was a teenager, she knew the importance of making savvy contacts.”

In the nearly 3 minute 26 second long tribute, NBC reserved just 24 seconds for criticism — a mild jab from President Bush about Pelosi’s claim to love tax cuts (“Given her record, she must be a secret admirer”) and noting how “Republicans love to run against her, calling Pelosi an unabashed liberal from San Francisco.”

Republicans “call” Pelosi? Which part can’t NBC independently confirm — that Pelosi is an “unabashed liberal” or that she’s “from San Francisco”?

MRC’s Justin McCarthy took down the full transcript of Today’s tribute to Pelosi, which aired at about 8:19am EDT:
Matt Lauer: “If you believe the polls, then the Democrats could very well win back control of the House of Representatives in about three weeks time. If they do, the next Speaker of the House will be a woman for the first time in history. Our national correspondent Jamie Gangel caught up with the controversial Representative Nancy Pelosi, the woman who could become third in line of succession for the presidency.”

Clip of Pelosi meeting voters: “Good morning, how are you?”

Jamie Gangel: “Out on the campaign trail, Nancy Pelosi is raising money, and slamming Republicans.”

Pelosi at a podium: “Drain the swamp. Return the Congress to the American people.”

Gangel: “Her goal: to win the house for Democrats and become the first Madame Speaker in American History.”

Pelosi shaking hands: “How are you? Nice to see you.”

Gangel: “At first glance, Pelosi might appear an unlikely back room pol. She often introduces herself as a mother and grandmother, and is known for her trademark smile. But don’t be fooled. At 66, she is ambitious, effective, and has made an art form of staying on message.”

Clip of Pelosi from Meet the Press: “We will have a new direction for America.”

Gangel: “To Pelosi, this is second nature. She grew up on politics.”

Pelosi to Gangel: “Every day was a campaign. There was never an election that we weren’t involved in.”

Gangel: “Her father [Thomas D’Alesandro] was the powerful mayor of Baltimore, and by the age of seven, little Nancy, was an expert in constituent services.”

Pelosi: “I knew how to answer the phone and tell people how to get a hospital bed, or who to call to go into a project.”

Gangel: “Another lesson, by the time she was a teenager, she knew the importance of making savvy contacts. [Picture of young Pelosi with John F. Kennedy] And her father [shown with FDR] taught her the bottom line of political warfare.”

Pelosi: “You have to know how you can win an election.”

Gangel: “You learned how to count votes from him?”

Pelosi: “Count votes. You’d have these yellow legal pads and they’d say how many votes does it take to win? And it’s still the same thing.”

Gangel: “A relative latecomer to elected office. Pelosi first married successful California businessman Paul Pelosi, raised a family of five, and then at 46, asked her children whether she should run for office.”

Pelosi: “I asked Alexandra, who was, again, going to be a senior in high school. She and her siblings said to me, ‘Mother, get a life.’”

Gangel: “Since then, Pelosi has been working for this day. Rising through the ranks to Minority Leader.”

Clip of Pelosi speaking to reporters: “We may get called to the floor momentarily.”

Gangel: “But many critics are surprised she’s made it this far, charging she is out of touch, and short on substance. And Republicans love to run against her, calling Pelosi an unabashed liberal from San Francisco.”

Clip from a Republican ad showing a black and white shot of Pelosi: “How do we stop her?”

Gangel: “But Pelosi has not hesitated to take on the President.”
Pelosi at a campaign event: “Stay the course, Mr. President, is not a strategy, it is a slogan.”

Gangel: “And a sure sign she’s taken seriously, the President is firing back.”

Clip from President Bush giving a speech: “She said, ‘We love tax cuts.’ Given her record, she must be a secret admirer.”

Gangel: “But if Pelosi becomes the next Speaker, it may be more because of Republican self-inflicted wounds. The Iraq war, corrupt lobbyists, the page scandal.”

Pelosi: “They’re all responsible.”

Gangel: “Now with her opponents feeling the heat. The question is will it pay off on Election Day? For ‘Today,’ Jamie Gangel, NBC News, Washington.”
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes is the Senior Editor for Newsbusters