Kyle Rittenhouse is at the center of a controversy that has impacted the world. Dozens of media outlets have made him front-page news. Governors, members of Congress, even the President of the United States have spoken about him. In advance of a verdict in his trial, the Governor of Wisconsin activated the National Guard.
Rittenhouse is currently on trial for the shooting deaths of two people amid chaotic rioting in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020.
Black Lives Matter played a lead role in the three nights of rioting in Kenosha, and when the shooting took place, many assumed the incident was racially motivated.
Rittenhouse, age 17 at the time, was quickly labeled a “white supremacist.”
A Fox News report summarized what Rittenhouse has faced since his arrest: “A guest on MSNBC compared him to a ‘school shooter,’ while another said he is ‘arguably a domestic terrorist.’ MSNBC’s Joy Reid referred to him as a ‘vigilante,’ and Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., used the ‘White supremacist’ term when talking about Rittenhouse during an appearance on CNN in March.”
The Post Millennial ran an article titled: “Joe Biden suggested that Kyle Rittenhouse was part of a ‘White Supremacist’ militia.”
From the beginning, Rittenhouse has denied that he is a racist and claims he fired in self-defense. But the media’s portrayal of what happened has negatively impacted his emotional well-being and his quest to be exonerated.
A recently released video, and testimony from a shooting victim, seem to validate Rittenhouse’s claims. The judge has rebuked prosecutors in the case and the FBI for actions that compromised Rittenhouse’s right to justice and a fair trial.
A verdict is imminent. An acquittal is likely.
But damage has been done. The media has vilified Rittenhouse and emotional displays on the stand evidence his vulnerable state.
In a display of solidarity, Nicholas Sandmann (sometimes referred to as the “Covington Kid”) has offered encouragement and advice.
Sandmann, like Rittenhouse, was 17 years old when he found himself in the national spotlight being vilified by the media. He encourages Rittenhouse to file a defamation suit and “hold the media accountable.”
In 2020, Sandmann settled a multi-million dollar defamation suit against CNN for portraying Sandmann as a racist and not correcting their portrayal when an abundance of information to the contrary was available.
Sandmann’s attorney gave CNN, and several other outlets, 48 hours to correct their narratives. CNN chose not to, was sued by Sandmann, and lost in court.
The details of the settlement in the $250 million lawsuit were not disclosed, but Sandmann received compensation for “emotional distress [that he] and his family suffered.”
In a column published by The Daily Mail, Sandmann noted, “The parallels between me and Kyle Rittenhouse are impossible not to draw.”
Speaking directly to Rittenhouse he said, “The way the media has treated you is terrible, and you don’t have to face it alone.”
Sandmann also reproved “liberal pundits” for rushing to judgment and suggested Rittenhouse should follow his example and sue for defamation.
“With Kyle’s name dragged through the mud, and the clear effect it is having on him, many have started to ask the question whether Kyle should sue for defamation. While I am by no means an attorney, I have gained some experience on the ins and outs of defamation and can offer an educated guess on what the outcome would be if Kyle were to sue.”
In signing off, his column concludes with this commentary on the press: “One of the saddening parts of this media onslaught is that it has taken young people like Kyle and myself to expose how corrupt the media really is.”
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