Michael Shellenberger is doing what all reporters SHOULD DO when covering the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul: He is on the ground in San Francisco, knocking on as many doors as possible, and interviewing as many people as possible to try and piece together all the details. But Shellenberger, author of ‘San Fransicko,’ tells Glenn he’s witnessed reporters from mainstream media outlets being ‘lazy’ with their coverage, which by default suggests either bad journalism or political motivation. He exposes the ‘DISTURBING’ way some news reporters have covered the attack, and he explains how some have essentially swapped this story with the one about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s near attack just months ago…
Below is a rush transcript that may contain errors
GLENN: Michael, how are you, sir?
MICHAEL: Great. Good to be back, Glenn.
GLENN: Yeah. Thank you so much for all your hard work on this.
MICHAEL: Well, thank you for having me on. I'm excited to talk about it.
GLENN: Okay. So tell me what you've found. What's true? What's not true?
MICHAEL: Well, look, what we know, this is somebody who, according to multiple witnesses, including the mother of his children. Was struggling with mental illness for over a decade. We know he was homeless for a while. We know there was extensive drug use. You know, we -- mental illness. Serious mental illness, like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are pretty rare. But we do see a lot of drug-induced mental illness, particularly from methamphetamine use, but certainly other drugs over time can cause psychosis, which is of course the classic, you know, insanity of not being able to tell the difference between reality and your imagination.
And so what's obvious here is the alleged suspect in the attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband was in the grip of psychosis. And to blame political ideology is just what you said, it's the equivalent of blaming Martin Scorsese for making the movie Taxi Driver, on John Hinckley Jr's attack on Ronald Reagan.
It's -- the crazy ideas expressed in the blog posts of the alleged attack of Pelosi, are themselves symptoms of the underlying psychosis. It's incorrect to point to them as the cause.
GLENN: So I heard this morning, that he was in the hospital, or was this weekend.
Was those for injuries, or was he in a psych word?
MICHAEL: I don't know. It could be both. It wouldn't -- he wouldn't be hospitalized long-term, if he was in the hospital. He'll be held. He'll be diagnosed by a psychiatrist. And we'll find out soon. I mean, I think that, the good news is that the truth gets out. It was obvious to me. Because, of course, I'm very close to this. I wrote a book about this. Came out last year. It was obvious to me, as soon as I heard about who it was, and I talked to his neighbors and family members.
That this was somebody who was unwell. And this was the result of a sickness.
I was disturbed by how quickly, even so-called mainstream journalists were to even blame conservatives. Blame Republicans. Blame Trump.
You know if somebody were to be, I read Michael Shellenberger's book, and that's why I committed this crime.
It would be inappropriate to blame me for that the crime. And I think everybody knows that. But in this toxic political environment, I think it's important to remind people of that.
GLENN: We never blamed Bernie Sanders, ever. In fact, we were clear on day one. That it wasn't Bernie Sanders's fault that one of his supporters went and tried to kill all the Republicans in Congress. That's ridiculous.
MICHAEL: Right. Of course. Of course. Yeah. I'm sorry to see. Basically, I had one episode in particular. There was a reporter, who supposedly focused on disinformation at NBC News. Who came out and he tweeted at my -- my reporting, and said, oh.
My reporting had been debunked because there are all these blog posts, showing that the suspect in the attack, had written crazy things. Including their right-wing things.
But also, things about fairies. And demons.
It was very disturbing.
I have a hard time believing that that journalist didn't know that -- what was driving the suspect was -- was mental illness or psychosis. It really appeared that he was deliberately misleading people, in order to engage in partisan political behavior, just ten days before the election. And just think, it's not just on Twitter. I mean, if you watch Meet The Press yesterday, the whole program was basically dedicated to this topic. And at no point, in any of the program, did they even discuss the fact that the suspect was clearly in a psychotic state, suffering from delusions, under long-term drug use.
Instead, Chuck Todd made the whole show, about political radicalization and ideas.
And I just think, that's terrible reporting. I think it's very partisan. I won't speculate as to the motives of the journalist, but it's either bad journalism, or it's motivated by politics.
GLENN: Is it worse that they did that, or that when Kavanaugh, the guy from California, came to kill Kavanaugh, they didn't even report it on any of the Sunday night shows.
MICHAEL: Well, that's the other thing. And I wrote a post about this yesterday, Glenn. And you're absolutely right. I mean, it's disturbing.
When the Kavanaugh assassination happened, of course, I paid attention to it. But I will say this, there are many progressive and liberal people in my life, who still do not know that there was a serious fascination plot against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Because it was not covered. In anything close to this. Just as you said, three days after that assassination plot was revealed. None of the Sunday talk shows wrote about it.
The New York Times varied the story on page A20. The Pelosi assassination. Alleged assassination attempts was on the front page of the New York Times two days in a row.
You know, I'll tell you the other thing about it, is that the suspect in the Kavanaugh killing was clearly motivated by his pro-choice and his pro-gun control views. And his own lawyers, last week, said he was mentally fit to stand trial.
In other words, it appears -- again, there's more information to come. And I don't want to get ahead of it.
It appears as though the suspect of the Kavanaugh plot, was genuinely motivated by political fanaticism, not by mental illness.
Whereas, in the Pelosi case, he clearly was driven by psychosis, mental illness, drug induced, or underlying. We don't know. The media basically reversed those two stories.
And did not -- and covered the Pelosi plot attempt, as though it was driven by political fanaticism, rather than by psychosis.
STU: It really is incredible. You are from the area, Michael. And you were down there. Some of these interviews you were -- you were there, right?
MICHAEL: I was. I was. I mean, I think it's -- you know I'm a journalist at heart. And you know it's not that far from my heart. And I went down there. And I interviewed all the neighbors. I'll tell you a couple of shocking things. I won't name names, but I was not impressed by the reporting of the other journalists. Good journalism is you go and knock on all the doors, and you interview as many people as you can. I was the only one doing that.
There was a lot of laziness here. And that's also, the partisanship and the laziness are related, because if you have the idea that this was a Trump supporter, who went after Pelosi, then you don't want to go to get to the bottom of this stuff. You don't want to go through these interviews. You want to stick to your story.
So that was part of it. You know it's just -- you know when you get into it, Glenn. As you might imagine. It's a tragic story.
It's drug use. It's pedophilia. The mother of his two kids is in prison for basically child molestation. She was a crazy person. She herself is something -- I think she probably has a personality disorder and long-term drug use. The kids were in that house. They apparently weren't going to school. I mean, this is a real -- it's basically a symptom of exactly the problems I describe in San Fransicko, which is that we stop enforcing basic laws. And when you stop enforcing laws against people that are suffering mental illness or are addicted to hard drugs, they don't get that help they need.
And I think that's part of the lesson here. Is that this tragedy could have been averted if we enforce basic laws and mandated drug treatment. And psychiatric care for the people who need it.
It's not that every time someone -- you arrest somebody for breaking a law, that they have to go to prison or be punished. Certainly, some people do. But other people are just sick. And I think what we'll discover, as time goes on. The suspect in the Pelosi attack was somebody who was very ill. And needed to get treatment mandated. Many, many years ago. But didn't get it. Because we're in the grip of frankly some radical left political ideas.
GLENN: Did you see the op-ed by -- gosh, who was it?
Shoot. Lost his name. The guy who -- who just wrote this weekend, about the you know op-ed about Tom Cotton at the New York Times.
And how -- yeah. He's an op-ed columnist. And he even didn't say anything about it. He said, because we were afraid to.
When you said a minute ago, that you know they don't want to find it. How many are afraid to do their job in -- in journalism?
MICHAEL: Well, I was afraid. You know, my story. I came from the radical left. I considered myself a moderate. I'm politically independent.
But, yeah. I was afraid on everything. And you know partly you worry about losing your friends.
You worry about upsetting your family. You worry about not making a living. What you're describing is a column from Washington Post reporter, Eric Wimple who writes a media column. And to his credit, there was an ambivalent reaction to it, interestingly enough. But basically to his credit, he came out and said it was wrong for the New York Times to fire its op-ed page editor, who ran, of course, this op-ed by Senator Cotton, arguing for the use of the National Guard and US troops to put down the riots.
Well, he was not only -- the New York Times, because of the outrage, by its woke journalist staff. They basically denounced the op-ed. Fired the op-ed editor.
Everybody watched it happen. Knew it was wrong. To his credit. Whatever it was, like two years new. This columnist, at the Washington Post, said that that was wrong.
You know I think it's good. You know it's better late than never.
And he's one of the first people to say it.
Yeah. It's kind of -- it's social fear. You worry about your friends and family. It's also a financial fear. Like, am I getting fired from my job?
This is really serious stuff.
And I think that the partisanship. And you always emphasize this.
I think it's so important. We need to allow disagreements in our society. We need to appreciate and reward it.
I'm always shocked by how many people -- instead of being like, oh. I disagree with you. They're like, you should stop saying that. They want people to stay quiet.
GLENN: Right. Right. We're with Michael Shellenberger. We'll get more facts on -- I have a few more facts on what's true, what's not true. Then, I want to also talk to him about this push from the Democrats, to nationalize our gas and oil.
Hello, Venezuela. We'll go there, in 60 seconds.
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GLENN: So I think, Michael, because you have experience in your family with schizophrenia. I think it was your aunt.
GLENN: So you've seen it firsthand.
MICHAEL: Yeah. So it's interesting. Of course, when you're a child, and you know she -- she would say crazy things. So your parents have to explain to you, what's going on. And it is a little scary. Of course, it helps to have your parents there to kind of talk you through it. But, yeah. She thought the president of the United States.
I think it was Ford. Yeah. I think it was Ford or Nixon. They were communicating with her.
So I think -- there's a reaction, that they'll have in this case. That okay. Maybe he was like psychotic. But there's all these terrible conspiracy theories out there. And those need to stop.
Well, no. First of all, we have freedom of speech. And that means we actually have people have conspiracy theories. We let people believe all sorts of things. That's the point of a free society. So the idea that we'll get rid of certain ideas, is a very bad road to go down. The other thing is just that psychotic people will always find some justification for their behaviors. That's different than suggesting that those are the motivations. I do think that this is something that people can get. But you have to think about it for a minute. Which is that -- and we know this is true for everybody. Is that you have a motivation to do something. But you might give a different reason for why you did it. Well, people who are psychotic, they give crazier reasons often. But in many cases, I look at this, and I suspect that what we'll discover is that this was somebody who was lost. You know he lost his wife and kids.
MICHAEL: He wasn't able to hold down a good job. He was using heavy drugs. His motivation was probably to somehow make his life better. As crazy as that sounds. To be a hero, or something like that. He had some story in his head, about how he was going to become a hero. This is how often these guys think, by making this attack. And that's ultimately what was driving it.
Not some political radicalization.
GLENN: Yeah. But there are few things about the story, that I don't know if they're true or not.
You know I -- I look at these things. And the reason why we have a plethora of conspiracy theories, is because we no longer trust the media. We no longer trust the government, to tell us anything close to the truth.
And then there are arming things that just kind of hang out in the air. And nobody explains them. And it doesn't fit in with the -- with the story line, that the media is going for.
First of all, is it that make sense to you? You think that's right?
MICHAEL: Yeah. Sure. The media, they're partisan now. Maybe they've always been. Although, I think there's no doubt, that it's gotten worse. So when this happened, they rushed to make this a story about why you should not vote for Republicans.
I mean, it's just sort of tragic.