Drew Holden Profile picture
Nov 19, 2021 28 tweets 22 min read Read on X

It’s time to revisit the coverage of Kyle Rittenhouse.

With the news that he has been acquitted on all counts, don’t forget the ways that Dems and the corporate press came together to craft a false narrative in his case.

Let’s break down how we got here⤵️
We need to start with the media coverage that framed this case in the public mind.

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.” ImageImage
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.”

They even put out a piece about how right-wingers attacking protestors was some sort of phenomenon. ImageImage
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) ImageImageImageImage
Perhaps no one in the media has spent more time sharing inaccurate information than @JoyAnnReid. This was no exception.

She lumped Rittenhouse in with “white nationalist mobs” and accused Trump of “ethnic cleansing” (!!) for daring to defend Rittenhouse. ImageImageImage
Once again, @briantylercohen hosts a show called “No Lie” and yet spouts nonsense and misinformation in a nearly unparalleled way. ImageImage
You may remember that, later on in the news cycle, President Trump spoke about Rittenhouse, suggesting he acted in self defense.

@AP took this as an opportunity to fact check that, dinging Trump for - I kid you not - defending someone who “opposed racial-justice protestors” ImageImage
Speaking of fact checks, here’s @PolitiFact claiming that Trump lied when he said Rittenhouse was trying to get away from protestors and was attacked - both details have since been confirmed by video.

Will you update your inaccurate post, Politifact? Or the gun charge details? ImageImageImage
@NPR picked up on a similar sentiment, knocking Trump for “claiming, without evidence, that it appeared the gunman was acting in self-defense.”

Now we’ve had a court of law confirm it was using videos and context many of which were available at the time. ImageImage
Again, the framing of what happened was always preposterous. Here’s @Yamiche from NPR claiming that the takeaway was meant to be “that ifs okay for a 17-year old to shoot people on the street who are unarmed, who are at a protest.”

This is impossible to square with the facts. Image
@washingtonpost and @AaronBlake made the same case. While they might’ve forgiven Trump had he only declined to denounce Rittenhouse, that he would “volunteer defenses” for someone who acted in self-defense was simply beyond the pale.

This is meant as straight news coverage. ImageImage
Also, as a call out, this type of deceptive coverage is still going on.

During the trial, @Reuters described someone who attacked Rittenhouse as the “survivor of shooting by U.S, teen” while @CBSMornings said Rittenhouse “murdered two men” (h/t @BecketAdams) ImageImage
I don’t know that one could even call this commentary from @NYMag journalism. ImageImageImage
I don’t have space for all the awful coverage, but here’s a smattering from @USATODAY (doesn’t sound like it), @CBSNews (interesting the trending Twitter topics that make headlines) and @thedailybeast (“fanatic”).

The takeaway audience were meant to have was clear.

And wrong. ImageImageImageImage
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.”

I ask earnestly: is this not libelous? ImageImage
The now-President, @JoeBiden, called Rittenhouse a white supremacist absent evidence.

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. ImageImage
It’s hard to keep track of all the Democratic elected officials who baselessly accused Rittenhouse of being some variety of evil.

Here @RepSwalwell and @JamaalBowmanNY both call Rittenhouse a terrorist while @ChrisMurphyCT calls him a “deranged white nationalist” ImageImageImage
@RepDonBeyer spreads a whirlwind of disinformation here, as we now know that those killed weren’t peaceful, protestors or murdered.

@RepJeffries makes a similar category of error and then, just days ago, doubled down (and then some) with his own suggestion of lawlessness. ImageImageImage
The most unhinged content - as ever - came from lefty blue checks across Twitter.

This from @tribelaw captures much of the sentiment. ImageImage
You had to know @JRubinBlogger would be here. ImageImage
Given his track record, I think this sentiment means that @MaxBoot will be suggesting regime change in Kenosha any day now. Image
There were so many bad takes in the early days of this story. I can’t possibly get to them all, but here are a few more from:

@BetoORourke (good luck on that gov run)
@ananavarro (again with the “white supremacist”)
@AAPolicyForum (sheesh)
@greg_doucette (“white nationalist”) ImageImageImageImage
My two cents is that the world would be better if more men with guns showed up to town when the criminal anarchists descended and the police were told to stand down.

But even if you think differently, it is impossible to square this coverage with what actually happened.
All of this misinformation will only serve as an accelerant for America’s contentious conversations around race at a time when race relations are cratering.

And these brazen lies were told when a young man’s life quite literally was hanging in the balance.
My takeaway from this: I hope that Rittenhouse has a good attorney experienced in libel cases for the work ahead.

And I hope that everyday people remember the power the media & politicians have to destroy the life of an innocent man.
For what it’s worth, my understanding is that it’s really difficult to win a libel claim against the press or a public figure, even with something this egregious.

Whatever else you make of that fact, it certainly means that situations like this will continue to happen.
Also, for those who have asked about throwing me beer money, I’ve turned on tips. These have always been a labor of love but i won’t pretend they aren’t time intensive.

You can click the link on my profile (image below) to get there on mobile, and there’s also a Bitcoin option. Image
Just unbelievable framing here from the Times, as if it is some grave injustice that the prosecution in a criminal case must...meet a burden. nytimes.com/2021/11/19/us/…

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More from @DrewHolden360

Apr 22
It's always interesting to me, the tweets outlets never bother to delete.
The reason I take screenshots is that I'm always paranoid that an outlet or journalist will scrap the evidence of a bad take. Maybe I should be giving folks more credit for standing by their inaccuracies.
Every so often I check back in on this, perhaps my all-time favorite headline from @NPR, only to see that it still exists in its original form, from April 2020. Image
Read 10 tweets
Apr 17

I launched a newsletter, called Holden Court, about the media, what they get wrong & why it matters. The goal is to reach beyond what my 🧵s have on Twitter & to build a better recent history of media & media criticism.

You can sign up at the link in my bio. More ⤵️
At that link you can read my launch piece and get a better idea of what it is that I’m trying to do.

The piece also walks through a recent example of bad media coverage that I worry we’re already forgetting about: the start of Covid. Image
My general premise for the newsletter is that media criticism could be a lot better; more driven by what the media actually does and says and more set in recent context, rather than an impressionistic sense that the media is hopelessly off-track.
Read 8 tweets
Apr 16
I’m launching something new, so naturally I figured the best explainer was a 🧵thread🧵.

Introducing Holden Court, my Substack about the media, what it gets wrong, and why it matters.

You probably know the drill, but more details & links to sign up in the tweets below. ⤵️ Image
Holden Court aims to unpack media failures, particularly when the media misses in unison on important political topics. But I’ll also have one-off content, Q&A opportunities, a mailbag and maybe virtual (or even in person) happy hours, too.

Sign up here: open.substack.com/pub/drewholden…
That doesn’t mean the threads are going away. But the amount of context and nuance I can capture in a thread is limited. So the Substack will (hopefully) provide that more robust analysis, aiming ultimately at *why* the media misses the way that it does.
Read 8 tweets
Mar 19

“15 days to slow the spread” kicked off four years ago Saturday, sending the media into perhaps its most deranged cycle of my lifetime.

I dove back into some of the worst lockdown media coverage from those early days.

Buckle in, this one’s long. ⤵️
The real worst of the coverage was when states started reopening. The media outrage was palpable. Republicans wanted people to die, we were told.

Remember @TheAtlantic’s “Georgia’s Experiment in Human Sacrifice”? You may’ve forgotten how wild the text of it was. I did.
But that wasn’t a one off sentiment. The belief four years ago among the media was that allowing people to leave their homes was tantamount to killing people.

@washingtonpost called it a “deadly error” — not in an opinion piece, mind you, but in a “health” news headline. Image
Read 23 tweets
Mar 12

Another media conspiracy, this time that Trump attacked a Secret Service agent on Jan 6, imploded yesterday.

Remember when the media—in unison—reported the “bombshell” allegations as fact?

I do. And I’ve got screenshots.⤵️
You’re familiar with the story I suspect but just in case: when former aid Cassidy Hutchinson testified Trump had “lunged” for a secret service steering wheel on Jan. 6, the media rushed to print the salacious (& false) claims as true.

Here’s @NBCNews @CNN @ABC @washingtonpost

Trump was allegedly going to drive himself to the Capitol to take part in the riot.

That’s what @CBSNews @Independent @NPR @NewsHour said.

Read 18 tweets
Mar 7

Does it feel like the media call the border a “crisis” more lately? You aren’t imagining it.

After dismissing the term as Biden’s border crisis mounted, the press have broken it out to try to blame the GOP. @FreeBeacon

I break it down. ⤵️
The new change is stark. I went thru @nytimes digital archive.

Since Biden said the border wasn’t secure in late Jan, “border crisis” appeared in 26 NYT stories, even as crossings declined.

When crossings peaked in Nov & Dec, but there was no one but Biden to blame?

5 mentions
So what changed? Well, Biden empowered the press by saying the border wasn’t secure in late Jan. Then Republicans voted against a “bipartisan” border deal.

After that, the media were off to the races: yes, there was a border crisis, and it was the GOP’s fault. Here’s @CNN.
Read 16 tweets

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