Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal: PolitiFact blasted for fact-check saying Trump's comments on incident were 'false'

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Rittenhouse ‘was a case of media malpractice’: Kurtz

Howard Kurtz and Emily Compagno join ‘Special Report’ to discuss how the left-wing media smears Rittenhouse and ignores key facts.

PolitiFact is facing another round of backlash from critics following Friday’s dramatic acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse

A jury found Rittenhouse not guilty on all five counts, including two murder charges, after his defense team made the case that the then-17-year-old was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot two men last year. 

The verdict came after the fact-checking news outlet last year took then-President Trump to task over his comments on the deadly Kenosha shootings, in which Trump widely sided with Rittenhouse’s self-defense claim. 

“You saw the same tape as I saw,” Trump said during an Aug. 31, 2020, news briefing. “And he was trying to get away from them, I guess; it looks like. And he fell, and then they very violently attacked him. And it was something that we’re looking at right now and it’s under investigation.”

While the fact-check concedes that Trump “correctly describes some minor details about that night,” it insisted the president’s comments “grossly mischaracterize what happened — leaving out that by the time of the events he described, prosecutors say Rittenhouse had already shot and killed a man.”

Kyle Rittenhouse reacts to the verdict as he sits next to one of his attorneys, Corey Chirafisi, during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Nov. 19, 2021.

“In this fact-check, we are not examining the question of whether Rittenhouse acted in self-defense, as his attorney claims. We are examining whether Trump is providing an accurate description of what happened by focusing on only a portion of the events of that night. He is not,” PolitiFact wrote. 

The article accused Trump of painting a “false picture” of the events with omitted information.

“Trump’s comments completely overlook the fact that people started following him after he allegedly shot and killed someone. He also claimed protesters ‘violently attacked’ Rittenhouse, but that is not fully supported by the videos, either,” PolitiFact wrote at the time. 

Regarding its ruling, PolitiFact summarized that Trump was correct to say Rittenhouse “fell” but his comments “leave an incendiary and false picture” since by the time Rittenhouse fell, he “had already shot and killed one person that night. 

“We rate the claim False,” PolitFact concluded. 

(Associated Press)

Critics panned the liberal fact-checker for its “false” ruling on Trump’s remarks.

“Will you update your inaccurate post, Politifact?” political commentator Drew Holden asked. 

“So sick of the liars @PolitiFact,” reacted Kelley Paul, wife of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. 

“Politifact is so consistently bad at these,” conservative writer AG Hamilton tweeted. “They have a left-wing narrative bias and constantly do their ratings based on the narrative they have bought into. Their whole site would be improved by 100X if they eliminated the ratings and just presented the underlying facts.”

PolitiFact did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. 

Kyle Rittenhouse listens as Judge Bruce Schroeder talks about how the jury will view video during deliberations in Rittenhouse’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Nov. 17, 2021. 
(Associated Press)

This isn’t the first “fact-check” from PolitiFact that has faced blowback amid the Rittenhouse trial. Earlier this week, critics blasted PolitiFact for a poorly aged article claiming Rittenhouse’s possession was illegal. 

Judge Bruce Schroeder, who presided over the Rittenhouse trial, made headlines Monday over his decision to throw out the sixth charge against the 18-year-old, that he allegedly possessed a dangerous weapon as a minor. Rittenhouse was 17 at the time of the deadly shootings. 

Schroeder tossed the charge after prosecutors conceded Rittenhouse’s rifle was not short-barreled as the law has a carveout for such weapons. 

However, just days after the events in Kenosha, PolitiFact asserted otherwise when fact-checking a random Facebook user who claimed Rittenhouse’s gun possession was “perfectly legal.”

“Whether Rittenhouse violated Wisconsin law by possessing a firearm underage is the subject of ongoing litigation. But the Facebook post claimed that it was ‘perfectly legal’ for the teenager to carry an assault-style rifle in Kenosha. At best, that’s unproven. At worst, it’s inaccurate. Either way, we rate the post False,” PolitFact declared. 

PolitiFact doubled down on its “fact-check,” running a lengthy editor’s note defending its reporting at the time.

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