On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) accused Facebook of being “willing enablers” of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and her reasoning had to leave people scratching their heads.
Pelosi asserted that because Facebook has not deleted an altered video of her that was posted last week, they must have enabled the Russians in 2016. As The Washington Post reports from a transcript provided by Pelosi’s office, she told KQED News:
We have said all along, “Poor Facebook, they were unwittingly exploited by the Russians.” I think wittingly, because right now they are putting up something that they know is false. I think it’s wrong. They’re lying to the public. … I think they have proven — by not taking down something they know is false — that they were willing enablers of the Russian interference in our election.
When contacted about the altered video last week, Facebook told the Post, “We don’t have a policy that stipulates that the information you post on Facebook must be true,” adding that it would “heavily reduce” the number of times the video appeared in people’s news feeds and attach an information box that linked to the articles attesting the video had been doctored, as well as a pop-up box linking to “additional reporting.”
Facebook added, “There’s a tension here: we work hard to find the right balance between encouraging free expression and promoting a safe and authentic community, and we believe that reducing the distribution of inauthentic content strikes that balance.”
Pelosi added on Wednesday, “For me, I’m in the arena, I’ve been the target all along … I wonder what they would do if Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t portrayed, you know, slowed down, made to look” drunk. She added that if the situation were “one of their own, would this be – is this their policy? Or is it just a woman?”
According to the Post, one version of the doctored video has garnered over 2.8 million views, 30,000 comments and 38,000 shares.
This is not the first time Pelosi has taken a shot at the media for not supporting her; in August 2018, when it looked as though she might not win the position of House Speaker if the Democrats won back the House, Pelosi went on the attack against NBC News, which had reported a number of Democrats did not want her for the post. She snapped, “First of all, I know NBC has been on a jag as one of their priorities to undermine my prospects as Speaker.”
Pelosi has also accused the press of acting as accomplices for the Russians in the 2016 election; she said in March 2017: “I do think, with all due respect in the world for the press, that the press could have done a better job, instead of printing every e-mail that came out, and saying this comes to you from Vladimir Putin, they were, hah, hah, hah, John Podesta said this or that. I think the press were accomplices in the undermining of our election by the Russians by not pointing out this stuff is worthless because it comes from an undermining of our election, or at least reminding the public where this — these e-mails, the leaking of these e-mails came from.”