By Zachary Stieber
CBS has corrected the false claim a reporter offered on air regarding Kyle Rittenhouse.
On Sunday’s “Face the Nation,” Mark Strassman falsely reported that Rittenhouse “drove in from Illinois armed for battle.”
The falsehood was one of many spread by news outlets and influencers in the wake of Rittenhouse being acquitted.
The network has not responded to a request for comment and Strassman couldn’t be reached.
Viewers weren’t made aware of the misinformation but CBS has added an editor’s note to the transcript of the morning show.
“Kyle Rittenhouse testified that he did not drive to Kenosha with a weapon. It was not illegal for Rittenhouse to posses [sic] that particular weapon. We apologize for this oversight in language,” CBS said in the note.
A gun charge against Rittenhouse was tossed by a judge shortly before the jury began weighing five other charges. Rittenhouse was later acquitted of all charges.
Dominick Black, a close friend of Rittenhouse, testified in court that he bought the gun for the teenager. It was stored at his home in Kenosha and picked up on the day Rittenhouse shot three men last year.
Even before then, evidence indicated that Rittenhouse had never possessed the gun in Illinois, where his mother lives. The teen’s father resides in Kenosha.
An investigation revealed the gun he used was bought, stored, and used in Wisconsin, Lake County, Illinois prosecutor Michael Nerheim said in October 2020.
“Additionally, there is no evidence the gun was ever physically possessed by Kyle Rittenhouse in Illinois,” he said in a statement.
False claims about Rittenhouse were also spread on CNN, ABC, and ESPN, and by prominent influencers like Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).
Experts said the misinformation—possibly disinformation—is troubling because once a false claim is made, it can be repeated by others and eventually be seen by some people as a fact.
Updates are a welcome step but don’t solve the issue, Jeffrey Blevins, a professor in the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Journalism, told The Epoch Times.
“The genie’s out of the bottle,” he said.
Media experts say the best course of action is to correct false information where viewers see it.
CBS didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment asking if next week’s “Face the Nation” will address the false reporting. The note was shared on social media.
Later Sunday, other misinformation was aired on the show. Derrick Johnson, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, claimed that Rittenhouse illegally purchased a gun. Neither he nor Strassman were corrected by moderator Margaret Brennan.
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