UPDATE, with additional details on the network’s decision: BNC News removed a report on Today which aired Friday on Paul Pelosiexplaining that he did not meet the network’s journalistic standards.
“The piece should not have aired because it did not meet NBC News reporting standards,” the network said in a statement that was released to Today website after its deletion.
The segment concerned Pelosi’s return from the hospital after being hit with a hammer by an assailant at his home last week. According to court documents, the suspect, David DePape, told police he was on a “suicide mission” and was looking for Pelosi’s wife, the Speaker of the House. Nancy Pelosi.
In the aftermath of the attack on Pelosi, a number of right-wing figures floated conspiracy theories or cast doubt on the circumstances. The New York Post reported that the original NBC News report was that Paul Pelosi answered the police door, responding to a 911 call, but officers were “apparently unaware they had been called to the House Speaker’s home.” Pelosi, however, did not “declare an emergency” or attempt to leave, but returned to the suspect, who was carrying a hammer. According to police, the suspect then hit Pelosi in the head with it.
According to a network insider with knowledge of the situation, the decision was made to remove the segment after it was determined, shortly after it aired, that the primary news source was unreliable regarding the question of the circumstances encountered by the police when they arrived at the house, in particular what the police saw and how far the attacker was from the door.
A spokesperson for the Speaker of the House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for NBC News declined to comment beyond the statement.
DePape pleaded not guilty. He faces multiple state and federal charges, including assault, attempted murder and attempted kidnapping.
According to the criminal complaint, officers from the San Francisco Police Department arrived at 2:31 a.m. on October 28 and an officer knocked on the front door.
“When the door was opened, Pelosi and DePape were both holding a hammer in one hand and DePape had his other hand holding Pelosi’s forearm. Pelosi greeted the officers. The officers asked them what was going on. DePape replied that everything was fine. Officers then asked Pelosi and DePape to drop the hammer.
“DePape pulled the hammer out of Pelosi’s hand and swung the hammer, hitting Pelosi in the head. Officers immediately went inside and were able to restrain DePape. As officers restrained DePape, Pelosi appeared unconscious on the ground.
According to the criminal complaint, the suspect told police he broke into the house through a glass door. DePape told police that when they arrived Pelosi ran over and opened it. The Pelosi grabbed the hammer from DePape’s hand.
“At this point in the interview, DePape reiterated that DePape had no intention of surrendering and that he would go through ‘Pelosi,'” according to the documents.
“DePape said he took the hammer away from Pelosi and swung it at Pelosi,” the complaint reads. “DePape explained that Pelosi’s actions resulted in Pelosi ‘taking the punishment instead’.”