WaPo Critic Pans Pelosi Documentary Smearing Conservatives

February 16th, 2009 10:33 AM

Alexandra Pelosi in MRC file screencap from Jan. 22, 2007One need look no further than the NewsBusters archives on fashion critic Robin Givhan and TV critic Tom Shales to see that the Style section for the Washington Post is hardly immune from the liberal bias that plagues much of the paper's A-section.

But for a change we're happy to note when a Postie in the Style section casts a critical glance at something in the popular arts that unfairly skewers conservatives. Such is the case today with reporter Michael Leahy's withering critique of Alexandra Pelosi's [file photo at right] newest documentary, "Right America: Feeling Wronged -- Some Voices From the Campaign Trail":

It's drive-by journalism, to put it charitably, a string of stupefyingly brief hit-and-run interviews with a bunch of unidentified people who we know are going to say nothing that will surprise us. By then, we've already figured out they're going to be fried by Pelosi's camera. We know they're going to sound like yahoos, often goaded, always reduced to sound bites and caricatures.

Leahy, recalling his impressions of conservative voters from his own campaign reporting, continued by dismissing Pelosi's documentary as a cheap excuse "for a snarky laugh track" at the expense of center-right Americans (emphasis mine):

As a reporter who spent much of 2008 writing about McCain and talking with many of his most ardent supporters, I certainly met angry conservatives along the way. A few times I was accosted by people who excoriated the media they loathed while expressing assorted fears of Obama -- their conviction that he would bring ruin to the country; that he was a rogue Middle Eastern agent; that he would seize their guns; that he would make a point of keeping the white man down.

But such opinions were a decided minority. I best remember a February day when, along with the rest of the traveling press, I watched the candidate attend rallies in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. By then, McCain was a prohibitive favorite to win the Republican nomination, and many of the conversations among his admirers at the Southern events were about whether Obama or Hillary Clinton would face him in the general election.

While passionate in their opposition to Democrats, most of the conservatives I met at the rallies that day expressed fascination and respect for Obama. They wouldn't be voting for him, but they felt pride in a country that at last was giving serious consideration to electing an African American. Many viewed his climb as a symbol of American social progress.

This is all to say I met very few yahoos. But that wouldn't be an adequate premise for a documentary so bent on finding subjects to put under a hot magnifying glass. They've been fried here for our amusement.

The daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Alexandra Pelosi's initial claim to filmmaking fame was her 2002 documentary "Journeys with George", in which she chronicled then-Gov. George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign travel.