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Worst in Media No. 3 – The Kyle Rittenhouse Trial

Accuracy in Media is counting down the worst media blunders of 2021. Come back tomorrow to see No. 2 on our list.

If ever there were a textbook case of media malpractice, it was in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, which, from beginning to end, most of the press had exactly wrong. 

And the biggest failure of the press in the Rittenhouse case was what they did before the fateful night that a court found Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. 

As AIM reported [1],“For most of last year, the liberal media was a cheerleader, not for racial or social justice, but for untamed anger, violent attacks, murder and mayhem that rocked many American cities, that resulted in dead and injured, crimes against people and property both, while they tried to sell the country on the idea that the protests that rocked places like Chicago, Portland, Washington, DC and New York, and, finally, Kenosha, were mostly peaceful. [2]

Were it not for the navel-gazing the press did about the protests and their fantasy love affair with violent change, perhaps we wouldn’t have found 17-year-old boys thinking they needed to defend others with rifles in small towns in Wisconsin, as Rittenhouse did.  

Perhaps the police or the National Guard would have been allowed to do their job.    

But if that were the only thing the press got wrong, things would have gone better for the country. But in the aftermath of the Rittenhouse shooting, they got nearly everything else wrong too. 

“We should be acknowledging there is plenty of blame to go around for this mess and it doesn’t matter what you think about race or politics or gun laws or anything else,” said the Chicago Tribune [3] about the trial, one of the few newspapers to acknowledge culpability. 

It was at the scene of the Kenosha protests where a jury found Rittenhouse acted in self-defense, that CNN came up with its now-mocked “Fiery but Mostly Peaceful” caption of a burning building. 

It was here that the judge blasted the “grossly irresponsible media [4]” from the bench as the press confidently waited for a guilty verdict against Rittenhouse that would never come. 

And it was in this trial that one irresponsible reporter, Jason Nguyen [5], from ABC’s Salt Lake City affiliate in Utah, had the audacity to show up at the house of a local paramedic who donated $10 to the Rittenhouse defense fund as if the paramedic had committed a crime. 

“But in our long slow dribble down the drain of mediocrity,” AIM reported on the Rittenhouse trial [1], “in a rush to reimagine even those things we had right, the press has abandoned the last vestiges of merely reporting on events, in order to become the main actor in events, the driving force and narrator of its own revolution.” 

Want more of the Worst in Media? See No. 4 here [6].