The “Drunk Pelosi” Smear

White House Speaker Nancy Pelosi After White House Meeting: ‘I Pray For The President’ | MSNBC

The Story: 

A video that purported to show the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, slurring her words in a manner that suggested she was under the influence of alcohol, ricocheted around social media, with help from the President and from his personal attorney, beginning on May 22. The video was a fake, and this fakery has enhanced the already considerable polarization of politics in the United States.

The Fakery:

After President Trump walked out of a scheduled meeting about infrastructure initiatives with the Democratic leadership, Speaker Pelosi gave a statement saying that “we” (that leadership) “want to give this President the opportunity to do something historic for this country,” that is, rebuild roads and bridges to last.

A part-time sports blogger in the Bronx, who also appears to be a deep-dyed Trump admirer, slowed down the audio of Pelosi making that “we want to give …” statement, and altered her voice tone, producing the impression of drunkenness.

Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City who now serves as the President’s private lawyer, posted the doctored footage on his twitter feed with the comment, “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi? Her speech pattern is bizarre.”

The Thing to Know: 

The facts that (1) the fraud spread as quickly as it did, and (2) it then unravelled as completely as it did, suggests both reasons for pessimism and for optimism with regard to the world’s plague of fake news in general.

Loss of newspapers contributes to political polarization

By DAVID BAUDER, Associated Press | Posted: Wed 5:14 PM, Jan 30, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — The steady loss of local newspapers and journalists across the country contributes to the nation’s political polarization, a new study has found.

With fewer opportunities to find out about local politicians, citizens are more likely to turn to national sources like cable news and apply their feelings about national politics to people running for the town council or state legislature, according to research published in the Journal of Communication.

The result is much less “split ticket” voting, or people whose ballot includes votes for people of different parties. In 1992, 37 percent of states with Senate races elected a senator from a different party than the presidential candidate the state supported. In 2016, for the first time in a century, no state did that, the study found.

“The voting behavior was more polarized, less likely to include split ticket voting, if a newspaper had died in the…

How these 3 governors say we can overcome political polarization

The past month saw a political climate of extreme division in Washington, D.C., over the partial government shutdown. But some leaders at the state and local levels are striving for improved bipartisanship and compromise. On Monday, Judy Woodruff sat down with three governors trying to work across party lines: Larry Hogan, R-Md., Chris Sununu, R-N.H. and Tom Wolf, D-Pa.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    As Washington, D.C., feels more divided now than ever before, some leaders at the state level are aiming for something often unheard of in today’s politics, common ground.

    Last night, I sat down with governors from three states who have had to work with legislatures dominated by the opposite party.

    All three were critical of Washington’s handling of the federal government shutdown.

    Maryland Governor Larry Hogan told me he would have done everything differently.

    But the governors also struck a hopeful note about the state of American politics.

    Here’s a little of that.

    As you look at this audience, who are really, really frustrated, for all the reasons we have been talking, what — can you give them hope? Can you give them a few sentences to believe that the system is still worth believing in, that we haven’t just lost our way in this country?

  • Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md.:

    You know, I know people are very frustrated. I’m frustrated, not just with Washington, but the divisive, angry politics.

    And I know a lot of people are ready to give up, and they say that the system is…