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The Media Accountability Project will raise money for legal challenges against outlets Rittenhouse believes defamed him during his trial and hold them “accountable” more broadly.
“The Media Accountability Project is the official fundraising vehicle for holding the worst offenders in our activist media accountable in court. In the long term, I want to provide a platform for independent journalists who are actually committed to the truth, but for right now, accountability is priority No. 1,” Rittenhouse told the Washington Examiner.
Rittenhouse, who was 17 when he fatally shot two men and injured a third during the 2020 riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, claimed he was acting in self-defense and was in the city with a rifle to help protect businesses there during the unrest that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
A Wisconsin jury in November acquitted Rittenhouse of all charges, ranging from intentional homicide to recklessly endangering safety.
Following his trial last year, during and after which he was subject to nationwide attention, Rittenhouse told Fox News there would be “some media accountability coming soon.” Although he did not specify the names of the outlets he would challenge in court, Rittenhouse argued that major media lied about him by describing him as racist and a white supremacist during his trial.
“My trial exposed a deep corruption in our media that cannot go unanswered. Their blatant lies, defamation, and propaganda were malicious attempts to tear our nation apart and destroy my life — and I am committed to holding them accountable,” he said.
He announced the project on Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Tonight. The initiative has a website where supporters of Rittenhouse can donate to a fund for his legal challenges against the media. In a promotional video for the Media Accountability Project, Rittenhouse read a quote from Malcolm X describing the media’s power.
“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power,” he said.
Beyond the media, Rittenhouse has put certain public figures on notice for what could be defamation litigation. Last year he said President Joe Biden linking him to white supremacists was “actual malice,” and added that it’s “defaming [his] character for [Biden] to say something like that.”
Rittenhouse told Carlson on Monday that the list of people who may be subject to litigation could include Whoopi Goldberg of ABC’s The View who said in her view the teenager committed murder even after his acquittal.
“We are looking at quite a few politicians, celebrities, athletes, Whoopi Goldberg is on the list. She called me a murderer after I was acquitted by a jury of my peers. She went on to still say that, and there’s others,” he said before noting Cenk Uygur from the Young Turks is also on his radar.
Following the trial, Rittenhouse was asked by The Blaze if he was interested in pursuing legal challenges against media outlets in court. Rittenhouse said his main focus was his former lawyers Lin Wood and John Pierce, whom he accused of lying and putting his family “in jeopardy.” He previously told Tucker Carlson that Wood and Pierce raised money off his name and should have bailed him out of jail sooner.
Defamation challenges against media outlets are often difficult for public figures to win due to the “actual malice” or reckless disregard for accuracy standard established in the 1964 NYT v. Sullivan Supreme Court decision. Last week, a jury found the New York Times “not liable” in Sarah Palin’s lawsuit against the publication. She had sued the outlet for defamation over a 2017 editorial that suggested she incited the shooting of then-Rep. Gabby Giffords. The outlet subsequently issued multiple corrections on that editorial.
Media companies also sometimes settle lawsuits to avoid dragging them out in court. Last year, Nicholas Sandmann reached a settlement with NBC over its coverage of his interaction with Native American activist Nathan Phillips during the 2019 March for Life. He also reached legal settlements with CNN and the Washington Post over their coverage of him during that event.
This article was originally published by Washington Examiner. Read the original article.
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