PBS documentary ‘Pelosi Power’ praises president, few critics

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PBS’ “Frontline” series released a documentary highlighting the career of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who praised the veteran lawmaker as speaking out against the system of “white capitalist patriarchy.”

“Frontline” filmmaker Michael Kirk produced “Pelosi’s power,which was released in March, spent the majority of the 78 minutes praising the 82-year-old California lawmaker.

“A captivating and unparalleled look at the life and legacy of the first female Speaker of the House: how she gained and wielded power over three decades, and how she overcame serious challenges to her leadership and the American democracy of former President Donald Trump and his allies,” the PBS description of the episode reads.

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Pelosi joined the House of Representatives in 1987.

Pelosi joined the House of Representatives in 1987.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The documentary featured a wide range of Pelosi supporters and a few detractors and often objected to her being based on sexism. Pelosi’s featured supporters included; former adviser to President Obama David Axelrod, political activist and his daughter Christine Pelosi, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson and other liberal figures. Most testimonials praised Pelosi’s political spirit and breaking down barriers for women.

“Nancy Pelosi is more comfortable with power than anyone I’ve covered,” said Susan Page, USA Today’s Washington bureau chief.

“One thing that Pelosi has never been charged with is bringing a knife into a shooting,” Robinson said.

“She is a woman who challenges the President and the leader of the Republican Party. Within a white capitalist patriarchy, Nancy Pelosi is a person who is not supposed to have the power to fight back at the President of the United States during a war. So she’s a formidable threat,” said liberal columnist Rebecca Traister.

The documentary also included many former lawmakers who were close allies of Pelosi, all praising the President for her leadership. The small criticism included came from former Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. They criticized Pelosi for being hyper-partisan and leading Democrats to refuse to work across the aisle.

PBS frames Pelosi’s career as a protagonist in a hostile environment. From his early days in a male-dominated institution to his fight against former President Trump. He often called his opponents sexist, downplayed their criticism and underscored the praise she received. For example, in one segment, they highlighted the compliments and praise she received after having a contentious meeting with Trump.

One of the memes from the PBS documentary

One of the memes from the PBS documentary “Pelosi’s Power” included in their film.
(PBS)

One of the memes from the PBS documentary

One of the memes from the PBS documentary “Pelosi’s Power” included in their film.
(PBS)

One of the memes from the PBS documentary

One of the memes from the PBS documentary “Pelosi’s Power” included in their film.
(PBS)

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One of the segments that criticized the president was the insurgency Pelosi faced after the Democrats’ midterm victory in 2018. Pelosi faced resistance from far-left caucus members known as the Squad, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, NY, Ilhan Omar, Minn., Rashida Tlaib, Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley, Mass. -of-touch compared to new members. He pointed out how Ocasio-Cortez visited a climate change protest on his first day in Congress in Pelosi’s office.

“I think it was probably maddening to her that you came, you haven’t achieved anything yet, you don’t know anything about politics when I’ve spent all these years learning the institution, learning politics, learn to pull the levers,” Washington Post columnist Matt Bai said. “I think it must have been infuriating and rather ironic at the end of the day.”

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Compared to other documentaries Kirk has produced, “Pelosi Power” stands out for its lack of critical commentary. In his other documentaries like ‘Trump’s American Carnage,’ ‘The Choice 2020: Trump vs Biden,’ ‘The Mueller Investigation,’ and ‘Zero Tolerance,’ all have criticized conservatives and Republicans alike, particularly regarding the former President Trump. Meanwhile, in “Pelosi’s Power,” Kirk portrays the longtime lawmaker as fighting an increasingly radical Republican Party that will upend democracy in the United States.

“From her position as a public speaker, Pelosi does what she can to stop them,” the “Frontline” narrator said.

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