We don’t do enough on this site to defend our own Speaker Pelosi from ridiculous media hit jobs. Sure, blogswarm put this one in the Quick Hits, but it deserves wider attention because it falls into a predictable pattern. The nutjobs in the House Republican Caucus put out some kind of non-factual press release, a still-unsuspecting-after-all-these-years news organization dutifully types it up, Drudge and the right-wing noise machine links to it, and by the time the charges are completely discredited, the media schoolchildren and Republican outrage-bots have moved on to the next thing. The entire idea is to “get it out there,” to plant a seed of malfeasance in the mind of the voter despite the complete disregard for the facts. This has happened at least four times that I can think of, in just the first four months-plus of the Pelosi Speakership. And I’m sick of it.
In this instance, the right is claiming that Pelosi inserted Port of San Francisco waterfront improvements into a water redevelopment bill passed by the House last month. (Ever wonder why they always catch these things long after they’ve voted on them? It’s like they don’t care about the legislation, just having an issue. Hmmm…) They claim that the improvements would benefit Pelosi’s husband’s rental properties.
Except the properties are a mile away from where the improvements are to be built, and the Port of San Francisco requested the improvements. This was confirmed within five minutes by Greg Sargent. But the writers and editors at the AP let that slip by, and just uncritically printed the “controversy” that was made up out of whole cloth without any factual basis.
You can add this to the Speaker requesting a phat jet so her Entourage (including Turtle) can party on the way to DC, her lowering the minimum wage in American Samoa to benefit Starkist Tuna, her going to Syria and undercutting American foreign policy, etc etc. None of these allegations where even close to being true, and all of them folded under scrutiny. Of course, that wasn’t the point. The point was to get Suzanne Malveaux to call Pelosi “the most controversial Speaker yet!” The point was to make sure the low-information voter has this vague sense from Rush and Fox News headlines that Pelosi is some corrupt politician who’s robbing the federal treasury for perks for her friends and allies. And this is done so that, when GOP Congressman have their houses raided and some actual tales of corruption come out, the Republicans can stamp their little feet and scream “Pelosi too!!!”
We’re way too forgiving of this tactic. It’s because we have actual respect for the truth. But the Republican operatives who keep feeding the AP this obvious bullshit have none. And what’s more, they count on the fact that once-proud news organizations like the AP are too lazy to know the difference between reality and lies, and they’ll print virtually anything as long as they can put it in the familiar “he said/she said” context, keeping them one step away from reporting the story. There’s no value placed on objectivity anymore, which isn’t just going to each side for a quote. There are incontrovertible facts here, and that ought to go into the decision to run with a trumped-up “story,” especially when delivered by political operatives. I’m fuming at this incident, and while certainly Speaker Pelosi can take care of herself, she needs to know that the progressive movement, at least out here in California, has her back and will not let this stand.