Headline RoundupNovember 2nd, 2022

Unfounded Pelosi Attack Theories Criticized Across the Spectrum

AllSides Summary

The attack on Paul Pelosi was condemned widely by politicians and commentators across the political spectrum, but also sparked a series of unfounded rumors and theories.

Facts and Rumors: Early theories circulated that Pelosi hired suspect David DePape as a sex worker, and that officers found them in their underwear upon arriving at the home. The 911 dispatcher said Pelosi referred to DePape as a "friend" after initially implying that he didn't know him. Police said later that the two men didn't know each other. Initial police remarks suggested that a third person may have been present, but police later clarified that only two people were at the home. Police say DePape confessed that he broke into the home with a hammer and found Pelosi in his bedroom. DePape was charged with assault and attempted kidnapping. See the full police report here.

What's Unknown: It's unclear how DePape broke in without triggering an alarm, or what security systems the home may have been equipped with.

How the Theories Spread: Some of the theories stemmed from an opinion article by the Santa Monica Observer, which has a history of publishing inaccurate reports. The article was shared and later deleted by new Twitter head Elon Musk, and other conservative commentators also advanced the theories.

How the Media Covered It: News sources on both left and right reported extensively on the unfounded rumors and claims about the attack, and highlighted DePape's history of posting false information about COVID-19 vaccines and the 2020 election on social media.

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