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The Pelosi 'Honeymoon'

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Since the election, some observers have been complaining that Nancy Pelosi has been getting glowing coverage from the press. Media watcher Howard Kurtz, for example, has touched on this notion in both his Washington Post column and on his CNN talk show. Kurtz argues that Pelosi has been going through a "honeymoon" with the press corps, and fretting over whether she is "ever going to get the kind of tough press scrutiny that, for example, Newt Gingrich received when he became Speaker in 1995."

Let me take a stab at that one: Yes. And let me add, with all due respect: Duh. It's been about a week, and we're already seeing pieces criticizing Pelosi – such as this one chiding her for promoting Alcee Hastings to chair the House Intelligence Committee. There have been a bunch of glowing Pelosi profiles in the newspapers of late, but that's hardly a surprise, as (A) Pelosi is the first woman House speaker and (B) as Jack Shafer pointed out, reporters need to do a little beat-sweetening now that power has shifted. Even amid the post-election glow, it hasn't been all honeymoon: Though Pelosi has gotten more than her fair share of softball questions – I get it, she's a grandmother – she's also been repeatedly confronted about how she reconciles her harsh words about President Bush with her rhetoric concerning bipartisanship and civility.

I still remember the cover of Newsweek from Nov. 21, 1994, right after Republicans swept into office: It was a big headshot of a smiling Newt Gingrich, the words "Right Face" splashed across the page. Most of the early coverage of the "Republican Revolution" was pretty glowing, with many pieces focusing on the genius it took to take control of the House from the Democrats. As time passed, the pieces became more critical, just as they will with Pelosi. It's been a week, everyone. What say we take a breath?

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