Pelosi whines: I didn't get enough attention

As she prepares to relinquish power, Nancy Pelosi believes not enough attention has been paid to her role as the first woman to hold the post of Speaker of the House.  “I was the first woman speaker,” Pelosi tells the New York Times.  “It didn't get that much play. And I'm not a publicity seeker, so it was OK with me.”

“Boehner, before the election, they had him on the cover of Newsweek,” Pelosi continues. “Now, he's on the cover of Time, and women are coming to me and saying, 'Is the job less important when women hold it?'”

It is true that Pelosi was not on the cover of the two newsweeklies when Democrats took control of the House in 2006.  But is it true that Pelosi's ascent to the Speaker's chair “didn't get that much play”?  Did she not receive as much attention when she became Speaker as John Boehner has after the Republicans' victory on November 2? A survey of the Nexis database of newspaper, magazine, Internet, and television news reports suggests Pelosi has it wrong.

Between November 1, 2006 and November 15, 2006, Nexis shows 6,447 mentions of “Nancy Pelosi” in various news media.  Between November 1, 2010 and November 15, 2010, Nexis shows 5,349 mentions of “John Boehner.”  Not only did Pelosi's election get plenty of play — it got more than Boehner's.

As for the issue of Pelosi's historic position as first woman Speaker, there's no way to compare her and Boehner.  But it's hard to support Pelosi's contention that her election “didn't get that much play.”  A Nexis search between September 1, 2006 until March 1, 2007 reveals 1,138 examples of articles, television programs and other news reports that used the words “Pelosi” and “first woman Speaker.”  And that doesn't cover all the mentions of Pelosi's gender.  Reporters were also fond of using the phrase “Madam Speaker,” as in “A Shift in Power, Starting with 'Madam Speaker,'” which appeared on the front page of the New York Times on January 24, 2007, and “Madam Speaker: What Does Pelosi Mean for Woman?” on ABC's “Good Morning America” on January 5, 2007, Pelosi's first full day as Speaker.  It's hard to imagine that any reader, listener, or viewer even casually following the news would not have heard reports mentioning Pelosi's role as the first woman Speaker.

So Pelosi got lots of attention in late 2006 and early 2007, even though there were crises at the time — a war going tragically wrong in Iraq, for example — that also demanded coverage.  As for the newsweeklies, perhaps Pelosi should be grateful she did not receive cover treatment like Newsweek's highly critical “How the Gingrich Stole Christmas!” cover after Newt Gingrich led Republicans to a historic takeover of the House in 1994.  And of course Pelosi can take some satisfaction from the fact that one of those newsweeklies is nearly dead and the other is widely thought to be irrelevant.  Something can be big news even if it's not on their covers.

Beltway ConfidentialJohn BoehnerNancy PelosiUS

Just Posted

ose Pak and Willie Brown at an event in 2014. 
Rose Pak and Willie Brown at an event in 2014.
Willie and Rose: An alliance for the ages

How the Mayor and Chinatown activist shaped San Francisco, then and now

San Francisco supervisors are considering plans to replace trash cans — a “Renaissance” garbage can is pictured on Market Street — with pricey, unnecessary upgrades. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco must end ridiculous and expensive quest for ‘pretty’ trash cans

SF’s unique and pricey garbage bins a dream of disgraced former Public Works director

Giants right fielder Mike Yastrzemski is pictured at bat on July 29 against the Dodgers at Oracle Park; the teams are in the top spots in their league as the season closes. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
With playoff positions on the line, old rivalries get new life

Giants cruised through season, Dodgers not far behind

Pachama, a Bay Area startup, is using technology to study forests and harness the carbon-consuming power of trees. (Courtesy Agustina Perretta/Pachama)
Golden Gate Park visitors may take a survey about options regarding private car access on John F. Kennedy Drive, which has been the subject of controversy during the pandemic.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Your chance to weigh in: Should JFK remain closed to cars?

Host of mobility improvements for Golden Gate Park proposed

Most Read