HBO has a well-earned reputation for pushing progressive causes.
The pay channel’s original films, think Game Change, Recount, and Confirmation, routinely lean to the Left. So do Real Time with Bill Maher, despite its host’s occasional independence, and Last Week Tonight.
The channel no longer airs specials from Dennis Miller, one of the few openly conservative comics to grace HBO in recent years.
That history suggests any HBO project focused on Rep. Nancy Pelosi would follow a similar trajectory.
Except Pelosi in the House could make that biased content look downright conservative by comparison.
The new documentary, debuting December 13 on HBO, is directed by Alexandra Pelosi. Yes, that’s the House Speaker’s daughter, a veteran filmmaker whose body of work reflects her family’s progressive bona fides.
To be clear, HBO hired Nancy Pelosi’s filmmaking daughter to shoot a documentary about mom. Just imagine a platform like HBO or Showtime releasing a docuseries on President Donald Trump produced by Ivanka or Eric Trump.
It’s not possible because it wouldn’t happen. Nor should it.
HBO’s marketing team makes no effort to hide the nepotism on full display, to its credit. The film’s synopsis, though, suggests an attempt to place the outgoing speaker in the context of modern history … as seen through the eyes of a daughter who shot, produced and directed the film.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Filmed in a cinéma vérité style over the course of three decades, PELOSI IN THE HOUSE provides a unique, longitudinal window into the life of a longstanding Democratic politician and history in the making.
The film goes behind the headlines as it tracks Pelosi’s life in public office from her election to Congress in 1987 and becoming the first female Speaker of the House in 2007 through the 2020 election and President Biden’s inauguration. Following Pelosi at both work and home in real time during consequential political moments in the country’s recent history, the film offers a unique look at American politics through her efforts on the Affordable Care Act, the COVID-19 relief package, two impeachments as well as a record of the events of January 6, 2021, following Pelosi and other lawmakers at a secure location as the crisis unfolded.
Even if Alexandra Pelosi could capture her mother’s political life in an unflinchingly neutral fashion HBO shouldn’t choose her to film such a project.
Had Pelosi in the House focused more on the speaker’s personal life, not her decades of Beltway maneuvering, the mother-daughter connection could have yielded some revealing morsels.
As is, the project clearly hopes to put Pelosi’s political life front and center, with a side helping of Jan. 6 content to appease HBO’s progressive base.
Naturally, august news organizations like the Associated Press reported on the news without an ounce of skepticism about the viability of the project.
Alexandra Pelosi is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker who was with her mother filming during the Jan. 6 insurrection. She’s specialized in political documentaries, earning four Emmy nominations for her 2002 film Journeys with George about George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.
See, she’s fair and balanced!
Don’t expect any chin-stroking think pieces on the fallacy of this approach elsewhere, either.
The young Pelosi deserves some credit for making movies that attempt to reach across the aisle. She invaded Trump’s America for Outside the Bubble, for example.
She also loves her mother, of course, and that can’t help but come out during media appearances.
“She’s been around. This is not her first rodeo,” her daughter Alexandra, who is also a political reporter, told CNN. “And that should make you sleep at night knowing that at least somebody in this town knows what they’re doing.”
None of this is new.
We’ve watched pop stars like Taylor Swift release documentaries about their careers that avoid material that would damage their brands.
Recent documentaries like Fauci, Bring Down the House and Hillary similarly fawn over their subjects, pushing objectivity to the curb.
At least Pelosi in the House silences any chance of a fair and balanced look at a consequential Democrat right from the start.