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PolitiFact slammed for ‘fact check’ that said Kyle Rittenhouse illegally owned AR-15

PolitiFact and Facebook have been slammed for an ill-informed August 2020 ‘fact check’ that claimed it was illegal for Kyle Rittenhouse to carry his AR-15 rifle at the Kenosha riot, when the teenager was acting within the law. 

The judge in the Rittenhouse case yesterday threw out the gun possession charge, ruling that the law was written in such a confusing way that it allowed for the interpretation that 17-year-olds could carry guns, if their barrels were shorter than 16 inches.  

‘I‘m still trying to figure out what it says, what is prohibited. Now I have the good fortune of having some experience and a legal education. How is your ordinary citizen supposed to acquaint herself with what this law says?’ Judge Bruce Schroeder said. 

However in August 2020, PolitiFact ruled that it was ‘false’ to say it was ‘perfectly legal’ for the teen to carry his gun. 

It seized on a Facebook post by Maine resident Trish Beck, who wrote that it was ‘perfectly legal’ to carry a rifle across state lines, and that it was ‘perfectly legal’ for Rittenhouse to ‘be able to possess that rifle without parental supervision’. 

Facebook flagged the post to PolitiFact, which it has a ‘fact checking partnership with’ as spreading misinformation, and PolitiFact then published a story that definitively labeled the woman’s post as false. Trish deleted her post afterwards. 

On August 28, 2020, PolitiFact Wisconsin published this article labeling it 'false' to say Kyle Rittenhouse legally carried his AR-15 gun. A judge yesterday ruled that it was legal

On August 28, 2020, PolitiFact Wisconsin published this article labeling it ‘false’ to say Kyle Rittenhouse legally carried his AR-15 gun. A judge yesterday ruled that it was legal 

This is the August 2020 story by PolitiFact that shamed the woman's Facebook post. She deleted it, but it's still available through PolitiFact's archive

This is the August 2020 story by PolitiFact that shamed the woman’s Facebook post. She deleted it, but it’s still available through PolitiFact’s archive 

Facebook flagged this post to PolitiFact as part of its 'fact checking partnership' and PolitiFact decided it was 'false'

Facebook flagged this post to PolitiFact as part of its ‘fact checking partnership’ and PolitiFact decided it was ‘false’ 

In the PolitiFact story, writer Daniel Funke wrote: ‘We’re going to focus on the second half of the claim — that it was “perfectly legal” for the teenager to carry a firearm in Kenosha. Is that true? State laws suggest not.’ 

The writer acknowledged that there was an exception for under 18-year-olds for the purposes of hunting, but decided ‘Rittenhouse wasn’t in Kenosha to hunt’ so ruled it out. 

He then went on: ‘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.’  

Now, critics are demanding PolitiFact issue a correction or update to the post. 

They say it is yet another example of left-wing media outlets deciding that information is false to suit their narrative, rather than presenting facts as facts. 

Judge Bruce Schroeder yesterday ruled that it was legal for Rittenhouse to carry the weapon.

Judge Bruce Schroeder yesterday ruled that it was legal for Rittenhouse to carry the weapon.

Judge Bruce Schroeder yesterday ruled that it was legal for Rittenhouse to carry the weapon. He threw out the charge, saying the wording of the law is ambiguous and confusing for even the most seasoned professionals like him, let alone for ordinary citizens

Funke no longer works at PolitiFact and he did not immediately respond to requests on Tuesday morning. 

PolitiFact did not respond to requests for comment. 

Writer Daniel Funke no longer works at PolitiFact and he did not immediately respond to requests on Tuesday morning

Writer Daniel Funke no longer works at PolitiFact and he did not immediately respond to requests on Tuesday morning

Mark Hemingway, a writer at RealClearInvestigations, was among those who panned the outlet for hastily labeling the post as ‘false’ more than a year before Rittenhouse went before a judge. 

‘This fact check was always wrong, but now that the weapons charge has been dropped it’s officially PANTS ON FIRE,’ he said, referring to PolitiFact’s own scale for labeling information as true or false. 

‘Too much Politi, not enough Fact,’ tweeted criminal defense lawyer Scott Greenfield. 

‘Hey, Politi”fact” Wisconsin, you might want to memory-hole this wholly non-factual tweet,’ another commenter said. 

The firearm charge was the only charge Rittenhouse did not contest and was thought to be the prosecution’s only slam-dunk. 

Now, their only hopes of convicting the teen are on charges of murder and his team insist he acted in self-defense. The case is now with the jury.  

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