NBC News reporter Miguel Almaguer had what seemed like a scoop on Friday about an intruder’s attack on Paul Pelosi. The curious new details he presented on the “Today” show quickly went viral on right-wing sites and social media accounts. Much of Almaguer’s account was inaccurate, based on flawed information provided by a source who was unnamed in the report, the Washington Post reports. Those people said Almaguer was incorrect when he reported that the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) gave police no indication he was in danger when he answered the door. In fact, San Francisco police have said that Pelosi was struggling with David DePape, when they first saw him.
Before NBC News’s hasty removal of the video from its website — accompanied by a vague note that the story “did not meet NBC News reporting standards” — it spawned a sinister new narrative. Within minutes of Almaguer’s broadcast, conservative commentators jumped on it as supposed proof of a politically motivated coverup. “This story keeps getting weirder,” radio host Clay Travis told his 1 million Twitter followers over a clip of Almaguer on “Today.” Even after NBC withdrew its story, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson trumpeted it. “NBC reveals explosive new details in Pelosi attack,” read the banner on Carlson’s discussion of the story Friday night. NBC News isn’t standing by those “explosive” details. “The decision was made to remove the segment after it was determined, shortly after it aired, that the main source for the information was unreliable regarding the circumstances that the police encountered when they arrived at the house,” said a source.