BigGovernment.com broke an exclusive story in which Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)’s daughter, Alexandra, goes on the record stating that her mother actually wants out of Congress.
During a telephone interview, Ms. Pelosi-speaking from a friend’s home in New York City-described her mother’s predicament:
She would retire right now, if the donors she has didn’t want her to stay so badly. They know she wants to leave, though. They think she’s destined for the wilderness. She has very few days left. She’s 71, she wants to have a life, she’s done. It’s obligation, that’s all I’m saying.
After the story was published, Alexandra notified BigGovernment.com that she had said “greatness,” not “wilderness.” The crux of the story, that her mother would rather leave Congress, remained unchallenged. So here we have the daughter of the former Speaker of the House stating that her mother would retire if it weren’t for people who donated to her election keeping her in office.
Pretty big news, right? All kinds of questions come immediately to mind when I read this. What do her donors want of her? What has she not done that they need her in office to accomplish? There are dozens of questions a news organization would want answers to in order to give their readers the best possible coverage of this significant story. That is, of course, if the news organization is really interested in informing their readers rather than moving a narrative forward.
Did you click the link? If not, do it now and come back when you’re done. It won’t take long. The longest paragraph in the story is the quote from BigGovernment.com which I already excerpted above. Besides that, there are a grand total of eight sentences in Politico’s front page linked story.
Give them credit; they somehow managed to get a comment from Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami – yes, that was sarcasm. That’s where the story gets weird.
“This may be wishful thinking on the part of a right-wing blog, but it is totally untrue,” Elshami said. “When the day comes and Leader Pelosi’s work is done, she won’t be announcing it there.”
Now, maybe it’s just me, but last time I checked, Nancy Pelosi’s daughter isn’t a “right-wing blog.” What is Nadeam Elshami talking about? Is he trying to insinuate that the quote isn’t accurate? Is Nancy Pelosi’s spokesman throwing Nancy Pelosi’s daughter under the bus? We’ll never know because the Politico reporter apparently never thought to ask a followup question. Or, if he did, he didn’t share it with his readers. Why not?
Because Politico isn’t really interested in providing news. It provides narratives.
Put yourself in the situation where you’re asking Pelosi’s spokesman about her daughter’s comment and the flack tells you it’s “wishful thinking” on the part of a “right-wing blog.” A normal person would be taken aback. We’re not talking about a random source here. It’s the Congresswoman’s daughter! And her spinmeister is literally deflecting the source of the comment to the blog that published it and dismissing it as partisan wishful thinking?
C’mon! Where’s the curiosity? Where’s the journalistic training? What is going on here?
Jake Sherman, the perpetrator of this journalistic malpractice, simply dismisses the whole thing as another story which adds fuel to “rampant speculation” about Pelosi’s future in Washington – which he never elaborates on – and seems bothered that he had to cover it at all. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill speculation. Nancy Pelosi’s daughter said it. If Chelsea Clinton had said her mom would rather not be Secretary of State, or a Senator back when Hillary Clinton was a Senator, it would be major news, and this is too.
If you consider the recent revelations about Pelosi and other members of Congress using information obtained through their office to benefit financially – which is somehow not illegal, noodle that one – at the very least, Politico and Sherman might want to ask a few more questions. But that wouldn’t fit the narrative. So they just pay it some lip service and hope their readers move on.