Fox News claimed Nancy Pelosi ‘violated her own pronoun rules’ by calling herself a mother. They lied

Nancy Pelosi

Fox News hosts have falsely claimed that by calling herself a “mother” in a speech on Donald Trump’s impeachment, Nancy Pelosi “violated her own gender pronoun rules”.

On Thursday (14 January), Fox News ran at least four segments on a speech given by Nancy Pelosi the previous day about saving democracy in the US after the Capitol riots.

The segments did not focus on the content of her speech, however, but on her use of the words “wife”, “mother”, “grandmother” and “daughter”.

During her speech, Pelosi told the House: “I stand before you today as an officer of the Constitution, a speaker of the House of Representatives.

“I stand before you as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter… And I stand here before you today as a noblest of things — a citizen of the United States of America.

“With my voice and my vote, with a plea to all of you, Democrats and Republicans, I ask you to search your souls and answer these questions. Is the president’s war on democracy in keeping with the Constitution?”

Fox News hosts and contributors falsely said that Pelosi had “violated her own gender pronoun rules”, suggesting gendered terms were banned as of 2021. This is not the case.

House of Representatives made its rules gender-neutral – it did’t ban gendered terms.

On 4 January, the House of Representatives approved a new set of rules for the 117th Congress, which include adopting gender-neutral language in House rules, in a 217-206 party-line vote.

The rules do not ban gendered language in the House of Representatives. Rather, it amends the text of the House rules to be gender-neutral and inclusive of all, for example replacing gendered words like “mother, father, daughter, son, sister and brother” with terms like “parent, child and sibling”.

This, obviously, does not prevent anyone from identifying themselves as individuals in any way they’d like.

But in a segment Fox Business’ Varney & Co, host Stuart Varney played a clip of the speech and cried: “What was that? Wife, daughter, grandmother, mother, etc, etc. I thought those were gender-specific and banned! What happened?”

Contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy responded: “That’s right, she is not the ‘madam speaker’ — she’s ‘it’, I guess, that’s as neutral as we can get — ‘it speaker.'”

In an edition of Fox & Friends on the same day, Fox Nation host Tammy Bruce also mocked Pelosi’s speech, and said that the guidelines for the House rules were created “really to strike at the family idea”. She also repeatedly using the term “transsexual”.

“They nudge you into eliminating the idea that the individual exists,” Bruce continued.

“Of course with an entity, a party that has argued about the power of women, and that they’re the champion of women.

“And as you heard Pelosi say, talking about all of herself as, you know, her roles in life, you can’t really do that, you can’t argue for the success as an example of women because you’re deconstructing them completely.”

Segments of the Fox News shows America’s Newsroom and The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino were also dedicated to mocking Pelosi’s speech.

The non-profit Media Matters for America described it as a “fake spin” which aimed to “distract” from Trump’s impeachment, and was part of the “perennial right-wing media search for a ‘gotcha’ moment”.