I got in a heated argument with someone I had always considered completely logical, pragmatic and non-partisan with the opinion that Kyle Rittenhouse was an idiot vigilante that should never have left his home and gone to another city across state lines and thus is responsible for killing those two men.

I asked, "so if there is a violent mob threatening your community, looting small businesses, destroying property, burning down buildings, beating and killing people... you would just stay in your home and then what?"

He said "that mob was not threatening the shooter's community".

I responded that Kenosha is only a 18 minute drive from Antioch where Rittenhouse lives. And his dad lives in Kenosha. Kyle spent a lot of time in Kenosha and it is a community he identified with.

This person did not know this... and had been inflamed by his media feeds to see Rittenhouse as some dangerous wannabee super hero.

The corporate media is toxic and dangerous and needs to be ripped out from the roots and replanted.

Expand full comment

Barry, maybe things have changed for you since then but there's no excuse for anyone in journalism not to have understood the basic facts of this story in real-time as it was practically livestreamed.

Expand full comment

Thanks for putting all of this together, Bari. I followed the facts from the beginning. Watched the videos. Listened to real journalists, including several who were actually on the scene in Kenosha, describe what the videos showed and it was clear. I was roundly condemned by several old and close real life friends for trying to counter what they imbibed from CNN, MSNBC, the NYT, WaPo, and other outlets. An entire year later, they were still pushing the media-approved narrative and one told me she and another mutual friend were “horrified” that I defended Kyle. This was BEFORE the trial started. I have been watching it closely. Despite the reality smacking people in the face, they STILL believe the leftist narrative and continue to post false and ugly memes about Kyle. I am the one who is horrified how otherwise highly educated and supposedly intelligent people of a certain age (not talking about the kids, here) can not only be so wrong, but so ugly and nasty about it in public!

Expand full comment

This is probably only tangentially related to Rittenhouse but I’m still struggling with how much the Minneapolis riots were memory holed by the national media. Portland and Seattle seemed to get all of the attention but Minneapolis was completely out of control for like 5 days. I have a lot of friends/family up there and while things were going down I was literally getting sent pics from family members of IEDs being disarmed by police in their friends’ backyards. In July 2020 I was in town and drove down Lake Street and it looked like Air Force bombers had strafed whole blocks. Complete insanity and I can’t be gaslit into thinking that never happened.

Expand full comment

Another terrific article from a journalist who I have much respect for. Sadly, she is one of a dying breed of writers who is willing to speak the truth even when she may disagree personally with aspects of where the truth takes her. That folks is the hallmark of good journalism, kudos to her for braving the slings and arrows!

Expand full comment

Liberals: get rid of prisons!

Liberals: put all conservatives in prisons!

They're tripping over themselves. The hypocrisy is real. Anyone who saw the video from the start knew this kid was protecting himself. He could have shot 50 people that night if he wanted to, or gone on a rooftop and shot at a peaceful protest. The only people he shot were the ones who accosted him.

Expand full comment

Kyle Rittenhouse is a white working class boy whose mother is a nurse assistant who grew up in an apartment in an aging Rust Belt town in the midwest. Rittenhouse is one of nearly 41 million Anglo/white Americans whose families live on less than 200% of the Federal poverty level. That's 21% of all Anglo/whites in the country. At the time of the shooting, he was one of 4.4 million Anglo/white males (24%) in that family income group under the age of 18. Given what most nurse assistants make, I'd hazard a guess that his family was on the lower end.

Who cares about people like him? Scranton Joe? Not hardly. No, Scranton Joe was content to call him a white supremacist on the strength of nothing more than the vituperation of partisan jackals on CNN, MSNBC and the NYT opinion column. With a single statement, Scranton Joe communicated a message loud and clear to that mass of 41 million Americans. The degenerate sons and daughters of affluence never get savaged publicly by the POTUS. Nor do the nation's gun-toting delinquents who can lay claim to all-holy POC status. But not Rittenhouse. It's restorative justice for the former, but "throw away the key" (MSNBC) for the latter. That's because Rittenhouse is white trash and that's not the kind of marginality that counts for Scranton Joe and the doyens of liberal opinion.

President Biden's remarks should be deeply offensive to every American who cares about our basic values like the presumption of innocence, fairness and equality before the law. What Biden did in his capacity as POTUS was to take a 17 year hold high school dropout from a poor family and falsely link him with domestic terrorism, Jan. 6 insurrection, and racist white supremacy to serve his own domestic political agenda. It was despicable. The fact that he thought it was okay to do that to someone of Rittenhouse's social and economic class was likely not lost on his fellows. If Democrats think they're going to win elections in the nation's heartland, they can think again.

Expand full comment

The correct information was out within days if not hours. And not just by the journalists you mention. That’s why so many people were so frustrated all along. Yes, I’m glad left off center people had their eyes opened at the trial. But it was there all the time. And there are many communities where kids learn to hunt and shoot at an early age. In my state there are courses and camps for kids. A visceral opposition to open carry is generally from people in blue states who think guns somehow do the shooting, just like it’s SUVs that kill people. Gun safety (something the prosecutor in this trial was shockingly ignorant of) is taught to any kid in a house with weapons as a matter of course. Photos of Rittenhouse from the night show him with proper trigger discipline, which he was obviously taught and absorbed.

Expand full comment

>> To admit that the press, in the main, got just about every key fact in the Rittenhouse case wrong — that he crossed state lines with a gun, that he had the gun illegally, that he had no connection to Kenosha, that he was connected to white supremacist groups — has nothing to do with whether Kyle Rittenhouse should have gone to Kenosha that day. It has nothing to do with where one stands on the question of open carry. (I am opposed). Or whether or not a teenager should be allowed to walk around with a semiautomatic rifle. (I find it baffling that this is legal.)

Oh, but they DO matter, Bari. The fact that this is how you view the 2nd Amendment, and people who exercise it in ways that are culturally alien to you, are the reason why you spent most of the last year believing the narrative that you outline in the first paragraph: because it upheld your confirmation bias.

For a journalist with decades of experience working for one of the formerly most-respected outlets in the world to have swallowed the "for the public" version of the story when EVERY JOURNALIST HAD ACCESS TO THE FACTS FROM THE BEGINNING suggests that the way Kyle played to your biases mattered tremendously.

It caused you to temporarily abandon your most closely held professional instincts.

Expand full comment

I as a Canadian I have been fully marinated in the belief that America’s gun thing is a terrible mistake - our media uniformly mocks you as imbeciles (sorry). But I am reconsidering this universally held bit of Canadiana.

Maybe your right to “keep and bear” is needed by the citizens. Bari points out that the public police stand by and allow civic disorder, they allow wonton destruction of property. Maybe your founders were prescient, “the security of a free state” appears to rest in the hands of the citizenry: clearly the state apparatus is cowed and ineffectual. The time may be approaching? Bari points out you are being lied to and your ruling class is untrustworthy, maybe even a threat to your freedom. But, as I now see it, you Americans have the necessary means, precisely because your rights have not been infringed, as per your 2nd amendment.

Current events make me think you have gotten it right and Canadians are wrong, misled and feckless in our sense of superiority.

Expand full comment

I have learned over the past several years to be extremely skeptical of the media reporting on controversial issues, and I was originally duped by this one.

But what really astonishes me about this is exactly as Bari mentions- that many news outlets are STILL doubling down and asserting completely false claims about the situation despite there being irrefutable evidence to the contrary.

And the fact that riots likely break out if/when he is acquitted will (or at least SHOULD) be on those peoples' consciences for continuing to spew these lies. I'd love for there to be some accountability against newscasters and politicians(!) who foment turmoil by spreading lies. It's like crying "Fire!" in a movie theater.

Expand full comment

The media's verdict is incorrect by design. As Andrew Yang said and as I have said many times on this website, the media in this country have become whores who will say or do anything for that next website click that makes them a fraction of a penny. We have a massive propaganda machine that manufactures outright lies in service to the worst master you can imagine, the dollar. I just wonder at what point the average person gets it? If that never happens there are going to be a lot more Kyle Rittenhouses.

Expand full comment

"It turns out that account was mostly wrong."

"Mostly", indeed. The only thing you got right was that he was 17 years old.

You're a reporter by trade, and yet *I* knew that account was "mostly wrong" as of...the last days of August 2020.

Wonder why that was...

Expand full comment

The same people who put those stupid “Hate has no place here” are the most hateful bigots — why else do they need a sign?

And how little curiosity they have! Just spewing the garbage with a self-righteous gleam in their vampire eyes!

I still can’t wrap my brain around how many people don’t know that rioters burned buildings in Kenosha. Even dumber, when I said police had a good reason to arrest Blake, someone said that wasn’t a good reason to kill him — as if the two were one and the same.

As for Rittenhouse, his primal instinct to defend his community surpasses the primal urges of those out to destroy it. Anyone who can’t see that is willfully blind.

It’s arguable whether he should have — but he clearly wasn’t out to kill people. I hope he’s acquitted. He was clearly being attacked — still is.

Expand full comment

I wanted to add that - along with the media - is anyone going to mention what the current President of the United States has said about this teenager. I am not saying the teenager is completely without fault, but when the most powerful man in the world is willing to push a completely false narrative against an American teenager - is there anyone who does not consider this wrong - and terrifying?

Expand full comment

Even today I heard the fabrication that Kyle crossed state lines with a rifle repeated on NPR's The Takeaway.

Expand full comment