The news media is full of opinionated people who view the world differently, owing to their own bias and beliefs, but a late-night shooting on a street in Kenosha is highlighting that difference after blood was spilled and lives were lost.
After a 17-year-old shot and killed his attackers in the Wisconsin city Tuesday night, Washington Post reporter Jaclyn Peiser wrote an account of the shooting that portrayed alleged shooter Kyle Rittenhouse as part of a “militia” and claimed he shot and killed innocent protesters.
The only problem with that claim, however, is video evidence suggests otherwise.
Peiser suggested via a Twitter thread, for example, that video footage shows Rittenhouse running but falls, "and then fire multiple rounds into the crowd."
Unmentioned in that description is the angry crowd chasing Rittenhouse down the street, and two men physically attacking him, after the teen shot and killed another man in self-defense minutes earlier. One of the men hit him over the head with a skate board and the second man, who was wounded, is shown with a pistol in his right hand.
There is no mention of an angry mob, or an armed attacker, by the Post.
Curtis Houck of the Media Research Center says the Post engaged in irresponsible journalism that absolved the rioters.
“They're painting this picture as if the protesters are peacefully going along, and talking about the need for justice and black lives matter, for Jacob Blake in this case,” Houck summarizes. “And all of a sudden, these white militia people jump out from around the corner and, pow-pow, they're shot.”
And that view of the shooting has taken hold, too. Mark Stern, a writer for the left-wing website Slate, claimed via Twitter that a justifiably angry crowd was attempting to disarm a “white vigilante” who had just murdered several fellow protesters.
“As the men tried to disarm the vigilante (using moderate force), he shot them point blank,” the Slater writer claimed, citing video footage.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley suggested in a Tweet that a “white supremacist” came to Kenosha where he “shot and killed 2 people who had assembled to affirm the value, dignity, and worth of Black lives.”
She finished the Tweet by demanding that the news media “fix your [expletive] headlines.”
The congresswoman's statement has nearly 100,000 retweets and has accumulated more than 345,000 "likes" on social media.
Enter the liberal New York Times, which also used a Twitter thread (see photo at top) to report on the shooting --- and concluded the armed teenager did, in fact, face several armed attackers during the night.
“While [Rittenhouse] is being pursued,” the Times reported, citing video footage, “an unknown gunman fires the first shot into the air.”
That same footage shows what appears to be a Molotov cocktail thrown at Rittenhouse, after someone shot at him, and the flames barely missed him.
According to the Times, that fatal incident took place before Rittenhouse tripped and opened fire in the street just minutes later. In the first confrontation, where the teen is also fleeing a mob, the Times pointed out a muzzle flash from a gunman can be seen, then the teen turns and returns fire. That first shooting victim is likely the person who shot first.
In the violent, 10-second street fight that happened only minutes later, where one was attacker was wounded and one fatally shot, the Times slows down video footage to show one of the attackers was armed with a pistol.
Not done with its analysis, the Times published video footage showing Rittenhouse, hands in the air, attempting to surrender to an assembly of police officers that were gathered in armored vehicles just down the street.
The officers ignored him, however, and drove to the scene of the shooting.
The media has a responsibility to get facts right, Houck complains, “because if they don't they could lead to more chaos, which is called incitement.”
Meanwhile, Andy Ngo, the independent reporter who is covering the riots, has identified the two rioters who were killed and the third who was wounded. All three of them have criminal backgrouns, Ngo alleges.