On Friday in San Francisco, police tape was visible in front of the residence of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul Pelosi. An unauthorized visitor assaulted Paul Pelosi severely inside their home. Getty Images/Justin Sullivan remove caption
switch to caption Getty Images/Justin Sullivan On Friday in San Francisco, police tape was visible in front of the residence of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul Pelosi. An unauthorized visitor assaulted Paul Pelosi severely inside their home.
Getty Images/Justin Sullivan Conspiracy theories quickly arose in response to the news of Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, being attacked.
Journalists soon located blog entries that appeared to have been written by David DePape once the police recognized the suspect in prison as such. The author of those posts subscribed to far-right ideologies, including antisemitic stereotypes, incorrect predictions for the 2020 election, and hoaxes concerning COVID vaccines. The Los Angeles Times said that DePape’s daughter told wrote the posts.
But as the story’s specifics came to light, a number of prominent right-wing publications and figures rapidly attempted to cast doubt on the claim that the attack was related to someone who held some of their values.
The attack was labeled “another liberal fiction” by The Gateway Pundit, a website notorious for posting incorrect information. Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative activist, stated in tweeted that “nothing in the public account thus far makes any sense.”
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas referred to the assailant in a tweet as “a hippy nudist from Berkeley” and called the notion that the assault was motivated by right-wing ideology “absurd.” Billionaire Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, retweeted a story with obscene suggestions from a website known for posting lies. Donald Trump Jr. shared a meme that emphasized the same idea. Since deleted , all three have held their posts.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, follows his wife to her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in March. hide caption – Andrew Harnik/AP
switch to caption AAP Andrew Harnik House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, follows his wife to her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in March.
AAP Andrew Harnik conservative media figures kept repeating the conspiracy theories despite the fact that those posts had been removed and fresh information had come to light refuting several untrue claims about the attack. The only woman to have held the position of speaker of the House is Nancy Pelosi, who has led the party since 2003.
According to Jared Holt, an extremist and misinformation researcher at the nonprofit Institute for Strategic Dialogue, the speed with which mainstream figures picked up on theories was startling.
Holt reported wrote earlier this year about how a false report regarding biolabs in Ukraine could be linked to a QAnon Twitter influencer. This time, there didn’t appear to be a single creator of the conspiracy theories. “After the assault on Paul Pelosi, everything began to kind of whirl at once. The beginning point wasn’t the same kind, as you might imagine.
Numerous elements of misleading tales are nothing new, as is frequently the case. One aspect of the attack that ISD discovered was that it was a so-called false flag operation, where the culprit’s opponents are connected to the apparent attacker.
According to Erin Kearns, assistant professor at the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, “Alex Jones on Infowars has been talking about false flag assaults for over a decade and this is something that in actuality happens with such extreme rare.”
Jones made the iconic claim that the Sandy Hook school massacres were staged by proponents of gun control to provide justification for limiting gun ownership. In response to those bogus charges, he was recently sentenced to pay more than $1 billion in damages. In the wake of the 2019 Uvalde shooting , told 0, and told 1 attacks, fact-checking organizations like PolitiFact have refuted similar false flag accusations, with told 2 emerging as a recurrent motif.
After the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, Holt claims that false flag plots that were a response to far-right violence became more established. The FBI and other members of the so-called “deep state,” according to supporters of former President Donald Trump, allegedly planned the attack to harm Trump and prevent him from running for re-election.
According to Holt, many of the conspiracy theories surrounding Paul Pelosi’s attack appear to be a right-wing reflex to question the attackers’ motives or ideological influence. There are different gradations of intensity.
There’s the extreme that claims that the CIA set this up as a hit on conservatives. Furthermore, there is the more sanitized approach of, “You know, just asking questions and just wondering what’s going on here, when really the proof is there.
According to Erin Miller, the manager of the Global Terrorism Database at the University of Maryland, conspiracy theories further obscure the fact that the attack on Pelosi was a case of far-right domestic terrorism. Especially as the nation prepares for yet another divisive election, she worries that the conspiracies could lead to radicalism.
According to Miller, “it’s just a part of a larger campaign to… vilify others and to cast people in a terrible light.”