According to the media, Kyle Rittenhouse was a white supremacist. According to the media, Kyle Rittenhouse was an active shooter. According to the media, Kyle Rittenhouse was a murderer.
In reality, he was none of these.
Kyle Rittenhouse was a 17-year-old young man who went to Kenosha, Wisconsin, in order to protect businesses and administer medical aid to those who needed it. He was chased down by Joseph Rosenbaum, a 36-year-old convicted child molester; he shot Rosenbaum when Rosenbaum grabbed for his gun. He was then chased down by Anthony Huber, 26, a man convicted of two felony counts of strangulation and suffering after pulling a knife on his brother and grandmother and choking his brother; Rittenhouse shot Huber when Huber tried to slam his skateboard into Rittenhouse's head. Finally, Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, a member of a radical Antifa offshoot, approached Rittenhouse with a pistol in his hand; Rittenhouse shot him in the biceps.
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All of this was on tape. It was verified by witness testimony and physical evidence.
Yet Rittenhouse was brought to trial anyway.
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He was brought to trial because his case became the center of a political firestorm. In September 2020, Joe Biden featured Rittenhouse in an ad decrying then-President Donald Trump's supposed sympathy for white supremacists. Members of the left declared that Rittenhouse was a stand-in for American racism, despite the fact that all three of the people Rittenhouse shot were white. Even after the prosecution presented its case – a case so weak that the prosecution's own witnesses ended up supporting Rittenhouse's self-defense case – members of the media continued to maintain that an exoneration for Rittenhouse would be yet another stain on America's racial record.
Meanwhile, last week, we learned that the Department of Justice had indicted one Igor Danchenko, a Russia analyst who worked with Christopher Steele on the infamous Steele dossier – a collection of bizarre misinformation about Trump treated as blockbuster material by the media. Danchenko, it is alleged, concealed that one of his informational sources was a Democratic Party operative close with the Clinton family. This means that Steele, at the behest of Hillary Clinton's hired guns at Fusion GPS, gathered false information from Clinton allies, and laundered it into a report – and then Clinton's team handed the Steele report over to the FBI, which promptly used it as the basis for a FISA warrant against Carter Page, a member of the Trump campaign. The Clinton campaign then used the FBI investigation of Team Trump as a campaign point.
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The media, of course, went right along with all of this. When the Steele dossier went public, members of the media treated it as though it were verified and credible. As Bill Grueskin, former academic dean at Columbia Journalism School, writes, "some reporters simply didn't like or trust Mr. Trump and didn't want to appear to be on his side."
Jussie Smollett was not attacked by MAGA-hatted white thugs; the media treated his initial story with complete credulity. Christine Blasey Ford provided no supporting evidence for her allegations against Brett Kavanaugh; the media treated her as a groundbreaking heroine. The high schoolers of Covington Catholic did not mock a Native American man; the media treated them as evil white supremacists. Jacob Blake was not wrongfully shot by police; the media treated his shooting as a case of systemic police racism. No evidence was ever presented that Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd based on race; his case nonetheless became the point of the spear in our "national conversation" about racism.
How many facts will die at the hands of media-crafted narratives? As many as need to die in order to achieve political utopia for the left. As David Burge suggested years ago on Twitter, "Journalism is about covering important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving."
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