Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi gave her weekly press conference Friday afternoon. This was her first audience with the media since her charges that the CIA lied to her and regularly lies to those with whom the agency briefs. After that train wreck of an appearance she promptly hightailed it out of town and spent last weekend in Arizona, too busy to accept requests for interviews on the Sunday morning shows.
So, yesterday Pelosi appeared behind her podium with several men at either side. She allowed the likes of her arch rival Majority whip Steny Hoyer and Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen to filibuster the time allowed. She finally asked for questions, 30 minutes into the gig, and when asked about the previous week's statements slurring the CIA, she shot the question down with a statement that there would be no more statements on that subject. She put on as stern a face as the botox would allow and in her firmest mommy voice said that was that. No more questions on that subject. She would not even utter the initials C I A. And, most amazingly of all was the fact that the slobbering press allowed it. They went on to talk about the subjects she wanted to focus on - energy and health care.
Some of the "journalists" present decided to yell a couple of questions on 'the subject' as Pelosi exited the room and those were predictably ignored.
In another predictable move, the House rejected a call from Republicans to investigate Pelosi's claims. Even after CIA chief Leon Panetta issued a letter to agency officers and workers that the CIA "briefed truthfully" and tried to inspire increased morale, the Democrats have circled around Pelosi.
All of this fits perfectly into the scenario painted by Jake Tapper on the blog Political Punch at ABC News. He, too, would like to know if we have an empire building here or if anyone is even noticing? On April 27 President Obama hosted the University of Ct Lady Huskies basketball team. They recently won the NCAA women's basketball championship. The White House press corps was not allowed to follow the team and the president as Obama shot hoops with the women. The White House decided to do their own filming, editing, interviews with the young women and even add on chyrons to identify who was speaking on the YouTube video.
The White House has a nasty habit of excluding the press and doing their own press. No opportunity for inconvenient questions that way. Jake Tapper called it "OTV" and bets that there would be quite a few takers for it. Why not, the sheep were too unquestioning during the lead up to the election. They are quite willing to accept whatever the spin machine from the Obama camp tells them.
The danger, of course, is that these first small steps often lead to much larger abuses. The people of Venezuela can talk about jailed journalists and a power crazed leader.
Both Pelosi and Obama are elected officials, accountable to the American people. Remember all the complaining about the Bush administration and its "secrecy", the claims that George W. Bush was acting as though he were King instead of President? Pot meet kettle.