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Nancy Pelosi Would Like Reporters To Stop Letting Republicans Shape Their Questions

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks and holds up her hand during a news conference

Nancy Pelosi shut down a reporter’s question for perpetuating misleading or outright false narratives that have been shaped by Republicans—something far more politicians and pundits should be doing.

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The U.S. House of Representatives passed Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act on Friday with a narrow 220-213 vote. Afterward, a reporter asked Pelosi to respond to Republicans’ claim that Democrats have lied to the American people about the cost of the package. Republicans have repeatedly pointed to the $1.9 trillion price tag as being indefensibly large, while Democrats have said the package pays for itself without needing to raise taxes on anyone but the ultra-ultra-wealthy.

This reporter asked Pelosi on Friday what she says to Republicans “who say Democrats lied to the American public” about the cost of the bill, to which Pelosi basically said: stop letting disingenuous Republicans control the narrative.

Her actual words were: “Let’s just not present what the Republicans say as any fact that you’re predicating a question on. I mean, understand what’s happening around here, okay?”

What is happening is that Republicans are very good at crafting misleading narratives, and Democrats, in general and as a whole, are very bad at combating those narratives. We see this all the time—one especially glaring recent example was the NBC reporter who essentially blamed Joe Biden for the new right-wing anti-Biden slogan “Let’s Go Brandon,” suggesting it’s a sign that Biden has failed in his previous calls for “unity.”

It was an absolutely absurd line of questioning, predicated entirely on the idea that those who have adopted the childish slogan, and those who are obstructing any form of political unity, are acting in good faith, which they are definitely not.

It’s nice to see Pelosi call it out and refuse to engage on those terms.

For the record, that reporter parroted Republican claims that the Congressional Budget Office said the plan adds at least $160 billion to the deficit, without acknowledging that the CBO also said that after factoring in tax enforcement, the package actually decreases the deficit by $127 billion over 10 years.

So just in case you were wondering if there was any merit to the Republican-framed narrative, no, there is not.

(image: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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