As soon as the jury's not guilty verdict was read in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, observers had some ideas for what the exonerated Rittenhouse should do next: sue those who spent the last year smearing him with lies. The idea gained so much traction that "#defamation" was trending on Twitter before the close of business on Friday.
NEW - Many U.S. media outlets and journalists labeled Kyle Rittenhouse, who acted in self-defense, a mass murderer or worse, and may now face defamation lawsuits - reports.— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) November 19, 2021
It's no secret that the biased mainstream media convicted Rittenhouse as soon as the story broke in 2020, and there are countless tweets, articles, and interviews from elected officials, so-called legal experts, athletes, and reporters that could be defamation suit fodder.
The idea started gaining steam earlier this week when Nicholas Sandmann — another victim of vicious media malpractice — wrote a column published in the Daily Mail. "The attacks on Kyle came from the national news media, just as they came for me," Sandmann wrote before encouraging Rittenhouse to give defamation lawsuits "a shot" and "hold the media accountable."
The Kyle Rittenhouse lawsuits against some media outlets and figures will make the Nicholas Sandmann lawsuits look like pennies on the dollar.— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) November 19, 2021
According to Kyle Rittenhouse's spokesman David Hancock, accountability in the form of lawsuits might be coming. "The potential exists for quite a lot of lawsuits," Hancock said. "The false reporting cannot be overlooked."
Rittenhouse spokesman David Hancock: Kyle defended himself with control and composure .. There have been so many lies from the media. The potential exists for quite a lot of lawsuits coming up. The false reporting cannot be overlooked. So much impropriety done by the prosecution.— Miranda Devine (@mirandadevine) November 19, 2021
The biggest challenge for Rittenhouse and his lawyers could turn out to be narrowing down a list of publications and individuals to sue. Drew Holden compiled one of his masterpiece threads highlighting the media's long list of inaccurate and outright false statements made about Rittenhouse that started from the word go.
We need to start with the media coverage that framed this case in the public mind.— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) November 19, 2021
To the press, Rittenhouse was as good as guilty when the news broke. So naturally, to @CNN, the people he shot in self defense were heroes & those defending him had “justified murder.” pic.twitter.com/jsMxd4547N
The damning thread indicts the core of today's flawed mainstream media including CNN, MSNBC, and The New York Times. And that's just from the initial round of smears launched by these outlets before basic facts were even known. A parade of blue-check lib media personalities piled on too, implicating themselves individually in the scam.
This wasn’t just limited to CNN. @nytimes put out what amounts to a hit piece on Rittenhouse because his “social media accounts showed strong support for officers.”— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) November 19, 2021
They even put out a piece about how right-wingers attacking protestors was some sort of phenomenon. pic.twitter.com/f3yqKRxGUA
Never to be outdone, @MSNBC said the shooting was white supremacy and then went on to blame - who else - President Trump for “fueling violence,” sowing “chaos and disorder” and “encouraging vigilante justice” (peep that last guest) pic.twitter.com/vrBT4IGPai— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) November 19, 2021
In addition to the self-important narrative guardians in the biased media, there were also the elected officials — Democrats, of course — who chimed in without accurate information, pouring gas on the media's fire. The roster of potential targets for lawsuits include members of the Squad and President Joe Biden who used his smear of Kyle Rittenhouse as a white supremacist in a campaign ad.
Perhaps the most famous accusations came not from the media but from elected representatives.@AyannaPressley called Rittenhouse a “white supremacist domestic terrorist” while @IlhanMN just went with “domestic terrorist.”— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) November 19, 2021
I ask earnestly: is this not libelous? pic.twitter.com/cKIG3yCaVu
The now-President, @JoeBiden, called Rittenhouse a white supremacist absent evidence.— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) November 19, 2021
I want to pause to drive that point home: the most powerful man on the planet used his influence & authority to libel a teenager while said teenager faced spurious, politically driven charges. pic.twitter.com/Qjt7sSGD7S
It’s hard to keep track of all the Democratic elected officials who baselessly accused Rittenhouse of being some variety of evil.— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) November 19, 2021
Here @RepSwalwell and @JamaalBowmanNY both call Rittenhouse a terrorist while @ChrisMurphyCT calls him a “deranged white nationalist” pic.twitter.com/hVrITb6xFj
In the wake of Friday's verdict, those who lied about Kyle Rittenhouse were either silent or, more frequently, spent the afternoon doubling down on their lies.
As Katie covered here, President Biden's statement on the outcome didn't include an apology. Instead, he chose to smear the now-exonerated Rittenhouse again.