The Chronicle Cuts ties with a former columnist who wrote an “exclusive” story that accused Pelosi of sexual harassment

Abcarian: That foul stench out of Santa Monica? A local weekly spreading malicious lies about Paul Pelosi:

Facing a conservative backlash, the San Francisco Chronicle is in the process of cutting ties with a former columnist who wrote an “exclusive” report that accused the House Democratic leader of sexually harassing women, prompting an ethics probe.

The San Francisco Chronicle editorial page staff wrote an “exclusive” story earlier this month headlined “‘It’s Time for a Serious Conversation’: Pelosi: Sexual Assault is a ‘Serious Problem’” that accused Pelosi and a number of other top Democrats of sexual misconduct and harassment.

As the Chronicle admitted in an email to supporters, the paper had “no way of independently verifying” the allegations against Pelosi in the story, which cited a “former senior aide,” and the outlet added in a statement to the news website Axios after the allegations were made public: “We did not report the allegations as fact and have no knowledge of the persons who made them.”

The Chronicle’s decision to cut ties with a staffer who, at the very least, had no firsthand knowledge of the allegations, is not surprising. The paper has a history of covering up or downplaying misconduct in its newsroom — and the same is true for many other news outlets.

It was not until earlier this month that the newspaper’s editor, Barry Chin, wrote to readers explaining the reasons for the paper’s decision to shut down the story and how readers could help the newspaper continue to publish “high-quality, independent journalism.”

A month ago, Chin wrote that the story needed to be reviewed by the paper’s editorial board and board of directors before they could make any final decision.

In that time frame, the newspaper released an unverified claim from one of the story’s sources, one of a handful of

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