In an April 6 NewsBusters post suggesting that Nancy Pelosi's visit to Syria violated federal law, Noel Sheppard asks:
Imagine if you will that in September 1996, just days after America launched a missile strike on Baghdad to expand the “no fly zone,” Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich met with Saddam Hussein to discuss foreign policy matters without the permission of President Clinton.
Would the media have vociferously discussed the possibility that Gingrich had violated federal law in doing so?
Do you think the media would have been as forgiving of Speaker Gingrich if he had so behaved when Clinton was president?
Fortunately, neither we nor Sheppard have to imagine such a scenario. In March 1997, then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich went to China without the authorization of the Clinton administration, where he warned China's top leaders that the United States would intervene militarily if Taiwan was attacked -- a position presumably not authorized by Clinton. As Glenn Greenwald notes, the media didn't get particularly worked up about that.
Further, as Greg Sargent points out, conservatives such as Pat Buchanan and John Boehner who have criticized Pelosi's visit endorsed Gingrich's trip to China.
So, Noel, there you go. Not that we expect you to update your post or do anything to acknoweldge it.
UPDATE: Sargent adds that Gingrich went to Israel in 1998 and made statements that directly contradicted Clinton administration policy -- yet is criticizing Pelosi, who in fact has not significantly diverged from Bush administration policy on Syria.