Media

People on the web said the Today report was based on “untrustworthy” information from a source that was not mentioned in the history.

House of House President Nancy Pelosi and husband Paul Pelosi in San Francisco. Jeff Chiu / AP

NBC News reporter Miguel Almaguer had what appeared to be news of an intruder att*ck on Paul Pelosi last week on Friday. The interesting new details he revealed on Today quickly became popular on right-wing sites and social media accounts.

One problem: much of Almaguer’s account was inaccurate, based on erroneous information provided by a source not listed in the report, according to people on the network. These people said Almaguer was wrong when he reported that the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Had given the police no indication that he was in danger when he opened the door. In fact, San Francisco police said Pelosi was fighting an intruder, David DePape, when they first saw him.

But before NBC News hurriedly removed the video from its website – along with the vague note that the story “did not meet NBC News reporting standards” – it spawned a new sinister narrative.

Like a matchstick on a pile of dry wood, the NBC story fueled unfounded speculation and conspiracy theories that had circulated around the incident since the house was att*cked on October 28.

Within minutes of Almaguer’s broadcast on Friday morning, conservative commentators used it as alleged evidence of political concealment. “This story is getting stranger and stranger”Radio host Clay Travis told his millions of Twitter followers of Almaguer’s video in“ Today ”.

And even after NBC withdrew its story, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson trumpeted it. “NBC Reveals Explosive New Details About Pelosi Attack” read the banner about Carlson’s discussion of the story Friday night.

In fact, NBC News is not sticking to these “explosive” details.

“The decision to remove the segment was made after it was determined, shortly after it was aired, that the primary source of information was unreliable regarding the circumstances the police encountered when they arrived home,” said a person familiar with the situation. who asked not to be listed to discuss the details of the report.

In particular, the network questioned Almaguer’s claim – which he attributed to anonymous sources “knowing what was happening at Pelosi’s mansion” – that Pelosi, after opening the door to police officers, walked “a few feet” back towards the att*cker and away from the police.

“Why Pelosi didn’t try to escape or tell responding officers that he was in danger is unclear,” Almaguer said in his original report, suggesting Pelosi was not in immediate danger when the police arrived.

Almaguer concluded his report by saying, “We still don’t know exactly what happened between Mr. Pelosi and the suspect for the 30 minutes they were alone in this house before the police arrived.”

In many ways, the withdrawn story of Almaguer clashed with the timeline provided a few days earlier by prosecutors.

According to November 1 loading documentsDePape woke 82-year-old Pelosi in his bedroom around 2 am. He entered Pelosis’s house, hammering a ground-floor window with a hammer.

DePape, 42, then demanded a meeting with Speaker Pelosi, indicating that he intended to hurt her. In an attempt to appease the intruder, Paul Pelosi managed to call 911 from a telephone that was charging in the bathroom adjacent to his bedroom. The dispatcher alerted the police.

DePape, still wielding the hammer, brought Pelosi downstairs just before the police arrived. Pelosi placed his right hand on the hammer handle to protect himself, according to the loading documents, and with his left hand opened the front door and “nervously but calmly greeted” the police. When officers ordered DePape to drop the hammer, he tore it from Pelosi’s grasp and hit him on the head, breaking his skull before the police burst into the house and overpowered him.

DePape was charged with attempted m*rder, burglary, assault with a lethal weapon and other crimes.

It is unclear whether Almaguer, the network’s seasoned correspondent, will face disciplinary action for a flawed history. Almaguer did not request comment on Friday.

Major news organizations rarely remove published work from their websites, but NBC decided to reveal Almaguer’s story around noon Friday after it began sparking comments and speculation on social media. At the time, he did not offer any public explanations by joining editor’s note The Today website reads: “This article has been removed from publication because it did not meet NBC News reporting standards.”

The removal sparked another round of speculation – this time about why NBC News removed the story.

Among those who have fueled misinformation and unfounded theories about the Pelosi att*ck is Twitter owner Elon Musk. After taking over Twitter last week, and promising advertisers that it will not become a “landscape free for everyone”, Musk linked to an article on a marginal website who claimed, again against all evidence, that Paul Pelosi was drunk and fought with a male prostitute. He later deleted the tweet.

NBC is not the only news site whose story errors have fueled disinformation. Shortly after the att*ck KTVU-TV in San Francisco incorrectly reported that the Pelosi striker was wearing only underwear during an att*ck. The station corrected its report within hours, but the details spread in right-wing circles, fueling unsubstantiated theories that Pelosi invited DePape to his home.

Paul Pelosi was released from the hospital on Thursday and returned to his home in San Francisco.

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