Fringe-right doubles down on Pelosi lies even after videos prove their conspiracy theories wrong
Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi at the Musicares Person of the Year honoring Tom Petty at Los Angeles Convention Center on February 10, 2017. (

For months after the attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband, the far right has promoted conspiracy theories that Paul Pelosi was engaged in a gay lover's quarrel and that he knew the attacker. It's a fact that even the attacker denies. Another came from an image that circulated on Facebook before the video dropped showing a man in a thong looking out of a hotel window. It claimed that this was a teaser of the video. It wasn't.

This week, the video was released by police, and instead of admitting that they were wrong, conspiracy theorists either doubled down or questioned a further conspiracy about why it took so long to release the video.

"So, a big piece of what stirred this up after the start is it created this existential threat about Nancy Pelosi, which then filters down and people feel they have to take vigilante action in order to respond to this clear and present danger," said Angelo Carusone, CEO of Media Matters, a right-wing news watchdog group. "That's how you get someone super radicalized, down the pipeline, where they think the only choice is to take action."

He noted that it began by the far right being unwilling to say something like "this is a tragedy, political violence is wrong," etc.

Instead, "they weaved it into this massive conspiracy theory that somehow Nancy Pelosi was hijacking this for political purposes, and maybe something was going on with Pelosi. Maybe he was having an extramarital affair with this man. Maybe there was something sketchy going on. Maybe that was China's money involved. They pepper the landscape with conspiracy so we couldn't have a normal reaction to an attack."

By the time networks like Fox, Newsmax and others "reported" that the video disproved the lies, he explained that they had two ways of responding to it. First, the claimed that all of the conspiracies were true because Pelosi answered the door in his underwear. Another claim: "he had a drink in his hand. That is suspicious." They claimed that there was no proof that they didn't know each other.

"I think that illustrates the danger here," Carusone said. "And then a subset of it, some parts of Fox News and some parts of the right-wing media did what they did with the conspiracy. This gets back to the clip you are saying about Jim Jordan. They said, 'they took a long time to release this footage. Do you think they were trying to force us to have all this conjecture?'"

The right then blamed those in charge, saying that they created the conspiracy by withholding the video, "because they knew it would create this and feed the landscape with conspiracies, which would then allow them to come in and take some kind of control. Therefore, you should not trust of the powers that be. Law enforcement, somebody was doing that to kind of set us all up."

He noted that it's to a point where people can't even agree on a video as they're watching something happen in front of them.

What former FBI agent Clint Watts explained is that this then feeds the extremism across the United States.

"What we've seen over the last five to six years it is people that consume information on social media," he began addressing those who are demonized with conspiracy theories. "You don't know who the attacker is going to be. You do know who is going to be attacked. Meaning that when they hear these things about Nancy Pelosi, Paul Pelosi, or any other public figure being detained, 1 percent, a fraction of 1 percent will take that as a very, very serious thing and they will then undertake violence or undertake an attack, like we are seeing in this video, go to try to seek people out and cause physical harm."

After five to six years of this kind of stuff becoming mainstream, it creates the conspiracy that leads to the attacks. In the case of Kevin McCarthy, he is fighting to remove a top Democrat from the Intelligence Committee due to a conspiracy. So, such lies are now influencing policy in the federal government.

Former Fox host Glenn Beck is a perfect example. After the video was released, he said that it was clear to him it was a "hostage situation," but then wondered why police would refuse to reveal the video when the right wing began spreading lies about it.

As legal analyst Brad Moss explained, "Because the job of law enforcement is to investigate crimes. Not spend all day debunking cracked-out trash conspiracy theories your friends came up with, Glenn."

Indeed, police don't generally conduct their investigations or make decisions using the demands of message boards. Though, they did discount the conspiracy spread by Twitter CEO Elon Musk on his platform.

See the discussion below or at the video here:

How conspiracies didn't end with release of Pelosi video