Gov. Ron DeSantis offered more thoughts about the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse Saturday. The Governor suggested that his ordeal should prompt lawmakers to look harder at allowing people to sue libelous media companies.
DeSantis, in an emailed essay from his re-election campaign, urged Rittenhouse “to sue every corporate media outlet and every moronic commentator who smeared him into oblivion.”
The Republican Governor’s email also calls for more restrictions on media — and advertisers — supporting “defamatory material,” specifically allowing civil lawsuits against both.
DeSantis said that “states need to make sure that those falsely smeared by corporate media have adequate recourse under state law to bring defamation actions.”
He added that “entities who advertise on corporate media outlets that routinely lie and defame innocent people should be held accountable for facilitating defamatory material and false narratives.”
The stakes are high, DeSantis contends: “Those in corporate media who peddle lies and partisan narratives are among the least reputable members of society and they shouldn’t be able to divide our communities and smear people with impunity.”
The Governor had already offered one essay about the Rittenhouse case earlier in the week. The treatise, entitled “Kenosha, Rittenhouse, and Media Lies,” urged supporters to join him and “fight back” against the corporate media and its purported mendacities.
“The whole Kenosha episode has been a tragic farce built upon a foundation of corporate media lies,” DeSantis asserted. “Corporate media lies are perverting our system of justice yet again.”
That email hinted at a policy agenda: “We need to fight back — against attacks on law enforcement, against the smearing of innocent people by the media, against the censorship of the truth by Big Tech, and against those who seek to eliminate our right to defend ourselves and our communities.”
DeSantis often talks of being a “target” of the “smear merchants” in the media. But the Rittenhouse case sounds like he sees an opportunity for corrective action, perhaps during the 2022 Legislative Session.