If you want to see a prime example of a supposedly objective news report that’s obviously biased, check out this report on the flap over Nancy Pelosi’s airplane privileges. In case you haven’t heard, the background is that after 9/11 the White House made available to the Speaker of the House—third in line of succession to the presidency—an Air Force plane to transport them between Washington and their home district. Most recently that was Dennis Hastert between DC and Illinois. He was assigned a C-37A, the military version of the 12-seat Gulfstream IV, which has a range of 6,300 miles. The Democrats said that wasn’t good enough. They wanted her to have a C-32, the military version of the 45-passenger Boeing 757 kept at her disposal. This is the same plane which the vice president is flown in when he travels. It has the same range as the C-37 and actually has a slightly lower cruising speed and it burns more fuel per hour.
Republicans and bloggers objected to Pelosi’s demand, saying that it wan obvious attempt at increasing her prestige and creating perquisite for Pelosi and the DNC. The larger capacity means that potential donors and lobbyists could be flown in style coast-to-coast with the Speaker. Democrats said that Pelosi needed the bigger aircraft because the smaller one would need to stop and refuel on a DC to San Francisco trip (which isn’t true) and she also needed to bring more staff than the C-37 would hold.
That’s the background. Here’s how the Associated Press story begins (emphasis added in red):
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the subject of a Republican smear campaign over her mode of secure air travel, has flown home nonstop aboard a 12-seat military aircraft set aside for use by lawmakers.
GOP House members, abetted by right-wing radio and TV talk show hosts, created a political tempest last week by claiming Pelosi was pressuring the Pentagon for the use of an “Air Force Three.”
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, however, the administration has required the speaker, initially Republican Dennis Hastert of Illinois, to travel home and on business using military planes for security reasons. House Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Livingood asked the Pentagon for a plane big enough to fly Pelosi safely nonstop to San Francisco.
Notice that nothing is said of the aircraft originally requested for Pelosi’s use, the C-32. Also note that nothing was said of the original (untrue) complaint that the C-37 could not fly non-stop coast-to-coast.
I also note that the story is also missing Pelosi’s now-classic comment that she wants whatever a male Speaker of the House would get, implying … No, saying outright that Republicans are denying her this plane because she’s a woman. I thought the drumbeat of The First Female Speaker of the House and Most Powerful Woman in America would die down after her corona… uh, selection by her party, but it looks like we can expect to see the gender-discrimination card played with some frequency over the next couple of years. Oh joy.
If you’re interested, after the jump, you can find the amenities on the 757 Pelosi wanted.