Today, many of us were shocked and horrified to hear that Nancy Pelosi’s husband was attacked and seriously injured by a home intruder asking, “Where’s Nancy?” But even this terrible news was weaponized by the Murdochs’ Fox “News.”
CNN reported that the intruder shouted, “’Where is Nancy?’ before the attack, according to a source briefed on the attack.” Also, alleged assailant David DePape, now in custody, is obviously a right-wing fanatic. According to CNN, his social media indicates he’s a fan of MyPillow guy Mike Lindell’s 2020 stolen-election conspiracy theories, he links to YouTube videos with titles like “Democrat FARCE Commission to Investigate January 6th Capitol Riot COLLAPSES in Congress!!!” and has written former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering George Floyd, was the victim of “a modern lynching.”
But Fox News trotted out Michael Shellenberger, whose only credential on the subject seems to be a spouter of right-wing talking points and a willingness to attack “woke” Californians at such a terrible time. Shellenberger, a former Democrat who ran – and lost – as an independent candidate for governor in California’s June primary, has appeared on Fox as a climate denier and transgender attacker. He also promoted, on Fox “News,” the possibility that Russia is funding green energy campaigns (he fully endorsed it on Twitter).
Co-anchor Sandra Smith introduced Shellenberger as “former California gubernatorial candidate and author of a book called “San Fransicko.” She didn’t mention that the subtitle of his book is “Why Progressives Ruin Cities.” In other words, he was there to blame the left for what was likely a political crime by a right-winger, possibly an attempted assassination on a Democratic leader and an actual, brutal attack on her husband.
Sure enough, Shellenberger delivered. Did he call for tamping down of inflammatory rhetoric, a staple on Fox? Of course not! He was there to whip up more hatred for the left. Even in the middle of terrible tragedy, such divisiveness was sought out on Fox News.
“Obviously, it’s a horrible attack and we should all condemn it,” Shellenberger began, adding that all political officials and candidates should be concerned “if they are indeed being targeted.”
Then Shellenberger got right to his right-wing messaging: blaming the left for the crime and mental health problems he suggested were the real causes of the attack on Paul Pelosi.
SHELLENBERGER: It may also be that this is somebody that is suffering a serious psychiatric condition. We are in a psychiatric emergency in the United States. As a whole, California is particularly hit.
You know, people don’t realize that one out of four residents of San Francisco say they have either been assaulted or threatened with assault. Half say they have been a victim of theft over the last five years.
He forgot to mention that “overall, violent crime is much lower than its 1992 peak, with rates staying fairly stable over the last decade,” as per the Public Policy Institute of California. Not surprisingly, neither of the co-anchors mentioned it, either.
SHELLENBERGER: So we are dealing with a psychiatric emergency, a drug addiction emergency, a huge crime problem. San Francisco is 800 police officers short of the minimum that we need to maintain public safety.
So, obviously, we don’t know what happened with this assault on Mr. Pelosi and it’s reprehensible no matter what the circumstances but I do think it’s worth keeping in mind that we are in a crime crisis in our country because we demoralized the police. We have basically said to police that they are the enemy in a variety of ways and I think that this is a wake-up call that these are problems that affect everybody and that this isn’t just problems that affect people in poor neighborhoods, that we all should be concerned about restoring public safety, both to cities like San Francisco and cities around the country.
Co-anchor John Roberts prodded Shellenberger for more fear mongering, albeit in the form of a question. Noting that the very prominent Paul Pelosi was vulnerable to such an attack, he asked, “What are regular folks there in San Francisco to do?” Roberts seemed to have “forgotten” that Shellenberger has no apparent credentials on the subject, nor did the show provide any.
But that didn’t stop Shellenberger from taking the cue to start weaponizing more specifically, though he probably didn’t go as far as Fox producers might have hoped. But he did do the Murdochs’ MAGA network the favor of putting the focus completely on crime and mental health and none on political rhetoric, incitement or toxicity:
SHELLENBERGER: A year ago, when my book came out, there was a lot of people who accused me of exaggerating the problem. … The fact of the matter is a lot of people don’t report the crimes that they suffer and so it really took a backlash against the local media in San Francisco, which is an extremely woke media, for the Chronicle to finally go and do a survey of the public and discover that yeah, people weren’t making this up. People really are suffering very high levels of crime and violence in San Francisco. Some say it’s not the only city suffering from it, but you’ve seen this effort to basically de-police, to demonize the police, to reduce consequences for crime, to let repeat offenders out without any consequences.
You know, a lot of folks, and it may very well be in this case, given the things that this person was saying, are suffering from psychiatric conditions or from drug addiction, which is often related. And the answer is not always long prison terms but you do need to have some approach to mental health in our country.
We’re unlike other countries in that we don’t have a single system that allows for proper psychiatric care for people experiencing mental distress.
So, I would hope that this incident and other incidents, no matter what’s going on behind it, helps to get us the kind of psychiatric care system that our country needs and has needed for decades.
Smith closed by praising Shellenberger. “Really interesting perspective on all of this," she said.
You can watch the propaganda below, from the October 28, 2022 America Reports.